A despairing Florida veteran shot and killed his wife and stepdaughter—both of whom were terminally ill—before taking his own life Wednesday, according to police.
Thomas Schultz, 64, told a 911 dispatcher that he had been caring for his stricken family members but that “we are in impossible situation, with no way out,” the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office said.
As the dispatcher attempted to soothe the retired Air Force serviceman, Schultz said he had to get off the phone.
“I’m fixin’ to shoot myself,” he said, according to authorities.
Deputies responded to his home and found him dead on a rear porch from a self-inflicted gunshot wound with a revolver at his side.
The officers then entered the residence and found his wife, in her 80s, shot dead in her bed.
Schultz’s stepdaughter was also found shot dead in a hospital-style bed in another room while still connected to feeding tubes related to her illness.
“We have learned from the family that both Schultz’s wife and stepdaughter were suffering from terminal illnesses,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister.
Chronoster said the 911 dispatcher had recently lost a loved one to suicide and was struggling with Schultz’s death.
“She’s struggling even more than normal,” he said, noting that Schultz had no criminal history and that they had never been called to the home previously.
A neighbor told the Tampa Bay Times that Schultz confided his struggles to him recently and said his situation was becoming difficult to bear.
”He was saying it’s kind of stressful, kind of getting overwhelming,” Quinn told the outlet. “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.”
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.