A criminal investigation is underway regarding a former volunteer of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office who took his life overnight. Edward Brito was a volunteer employee of HCSO from February 22, 2021, to June 5, 2022.
In the early morning hours of July 25, 2022, Brito sexually battered two confidential adult individuals who are known to him at a home in Riverview. The incident occurred approximately one month after a domestic violence injunction was served against Brito in June for sexual battery on one of the same victims. Brito’s volunteer status was immediately terminated as an investigation into the June incident was underway. HCSO is still awaiting DNA evidence from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) regarding that investigation, which may have led to criminal charges against him.
Following the sexual battery incident overnight, Brito committed suicide within the Riverview home. Both victims were medically assessed and did not sustain life-threatening injuries.
Brito was previously employed as a Reserve II Deputy and logged an average of 38 hours/month. Reserve II Deputies are unpaid, volunteer employees who may perform general law enforcement assignments while under the immediate supervision of a full-time deputy. Reserve II Deputies may work assignments such as off-duty details at community events. Brito's agency-issued equipment was taken from him on June 5, 2022.
“While mental health is often a factor in incidents of suicide, the actions of this former volunteer are monstrous and a clear example of domestic violence. Our agency goes through great lengths to identify individuals like this who should never wear the badge of Deputy Sheriff, from extensive background checks, polygraphs, interviews with neighbors, and personal and professional references,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “Domestic violence of any kind is never acceptable and is not tolerated within or outside of our agency, regardless of one's status as a sworn, civilian, or volunteer employee. I encourage anyone experiencing domestic violence to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for help at 813-247-8200 or reach out to one of many local resources, such as our community partners at the Spring of Tampa Bay at 813-247-7233.”
Additionally, HCSO offers multiple resources to assist and intervene for any employee or their immediate family members in crisis, including a Peer Support Team, a full-time clinical psychologist on staff, and Chaplains who are all available 24/7 to speak confidentially.