LAND O' LAKES (FOX 13) - A Hillsborough County deputy fatally shot his wife before turning the gun on himself, according to Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.
The shooting occurred around midnight in the 17000 block of Terrazzo Way in Land O' Lakes. Sheriff Nocco said there were four children inside the home when the murder-suicide occurred, but were not physically injured.
During a Monday morning press conference, Nocco said the oldest child, a 14-year-old, called 911. He said three children were upstairs but it doesn't appear as though they witnessed the shooting.
"Just pray for these kids," he said during a Monday morning press conference. "There's four children trying put their shattered lives - trying to figure out what just has happened to them overnight. So, as people wake up, I just ask that you pray for those kids."
He also said it was a Hillsborough County deputy, who has since been identified as 39-year-old Kirk Keithley. His wife was later identified as 33-year-old Samantha Keithley. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said Kirk was with the agency for 9 years, and three months. He had worked with the St. Petersburg Police Department from 2003 to 2009.
The agency said he a short disciplinary record, which include an avoidable traffic crash in 2011 and misusing communications facilities in 2016. Sheriff Chad Chronister released the following statement:
Unfortunately, last night, one of our deputies was involved in a tragic event where he took his wife's life and then his own. I cannot begin to express how disheartened I am. Domestic Violence has no place in our society.
I ask that everyone join me and the rest of our office and pray for those innocent children who are left behind and have to pick up the pieces. This is something that is impossible to comprehend for even the most seasoned person.
Please keep them in your hearts as we all try to make our way through this tragedy.
We have made every resource within our Employee Assistance programs available to any employee who may be struggling. This remains an active Pasco County Sheriff's Office investigation.
While the motive for the shooting was not clear, mental health experts urged anyone with suicidal thoughts to reach out before acting.
"Anybody who is struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts you can feel very isolated," said Clara Reynolds, the CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, which fields upwards of 200 suicide calls per week. "We would like to reach out to all of those individuals right now who are listening and watching and tell them they do not have to face this crisis alone. We're available at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- by calling 211."