Florida: Veteran shoots terminally ill wife and step-daughter then takes his own life in double murder-suicide | World News
A US veteran shot dead his terminally ill wife and stepdaughter before turning the gun on himself after describing how caring for both women was “overwhelming”.
Thomas Schultz, 64, who served in the Air Force, said his family was in “an impossible situation with no way out” when he called 911 moments before taking his own life, authorities said.
Mr Schultz asked the call operator to send someone to “secure the residence” in Tampa, Florida, on Wednesday morning.
He then said: “I have to go, I’m fixing to shoot myself”.
Police arrived at the property moments later to find Schultz dead on the back porch with a revolver next to him, said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.
Schultz’s wife, Joy, who was in her 80s, was found in one bedroom.
His unnamed stepdaughter, who was in her 50s, was in a hospital bed with a feeding tube in a different room.
Next door neighbour Troy Quinn said Schultz recently confided in him about caring for both women.
He told local newspaper Tampa Bay Times: “(Schultz) was saying it’s kind of stressful, kind of getting overwhelming.
“I said: ‘I’m here for you if you ever need to talk, and if there’s anything I can do, let me know.’ He said he would.”
Mr Quinn described feeling “numb” after waking up to the news his neighbours had died the following day.
“It’s heartbreaking to me and my wife. It just doesn’t seem real.”
The tragedy is believed to be the ninth suspected murder-suicide involving people from the Tampa Bay area so far this year.
Addressing reporters, Sheriff Chronister noted that May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
“There is no such thing as ‘an impossible situation’ with no way out,” he said. “There is always hope, there is always help.
“It’s OK not to be OK; it’s just not OK not to ask for help.”
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK