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Investigation underway in death of two deputies

For Immediate Release : Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Release Number: 22-015


Saturday January 29, 2022 10:00 PM


5300 block of A1A South St Augustine, FL

An investigation is underway in the death of two Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputies whose bodies were discovered on Saturday night, January 29, 2022, at a vacation rental home located on the 5300 block of A1A South in St. Augustine, FL.

While details are still preliminary, we have learned that the deputies involved, who were in a romantic relationship, were heard arguing in a bedroom by fellow deputies on vacation with them just prior to the sound of gunshots. Both deputies were discovered with fatal gunshot wounds. The preliminary investigation indicates that the gunshot wound to Detective Daniel Leyden appears to be self-inflicted and that he was the sole shooter. Detective Leyden worked within the Criminal Investigations Division. The victim is also a deputy, assigned to Uniform Patrol District III. 

All the circumstances and facts of this tragedy, including the motive, remain under investigation by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. The HCSO Peer Support Team, a group of employees who volunteer to provide confidential assistance to other employees and their families in times of trauma, is in touch with the immediate colleagues of both deputies involved and available as a resource to all HCSO personnel.

"Our Sheriff's Office family is still reeling from the shock of this unthinkable tragedy. My prayers for strength and comfort are with the families and loved ones of these deputies, and every member of Team HCSO affected by this painful loss," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "Violence is never a solution, and I urge any employee who is dealing with a crisis to take advantage of the many resources our agency has created over the past several years which include Peer Support, Chaplains, and a clinical psychologist. Help is just a phone call away."

Any additional information regarding the investigation into this matter should be directed to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.