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Air Force veteran among 3 dead in ‘apparent double murder-suicide,’ Florida deputies say

the 13000 block of Graham Yarden Drive in the Windrose subdivision. (Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)

A man killed his wife and stepdaughter — both of whom had terminal illnesses — before turning the gun on himself at a Riverview home Wednesday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff Chad Chronister recounted the call that led deputies to the home, located in the 13000 block of Graham Yarden Drive in the Windrose subdivision.

“At 6:17 this morning, our dispatcher gets a phone call from 64-year-old Thomas Schultz, who advises that, ‘We are in an impossible situation with no way out. Please send someone to secure the residence.’ As she tries to even engage in conversation, he says, ‘I have to go, I’m fixing to shoot myself,’” Chronister said.

When deputies arrived at the house, they found Schultz on the back porch, dead of what investigators believe to be a self-inflicted gunshot. He was seated, with a revolver next to him, Chronister said.

Deputies went into the home and discovered the body of Schultz’s wife, 84-year-old Joy Schultz, in the bed of the first bedroom they entered. Investigators believe she was killed in her sleep, the sheriff said.

In the next bedroom, they found Thomas Schultz’s stepdaughter in a hospital bed with a feeding tube. The woman, who was in her 50s, also was shot and killed in her bed, Chronister said.

Family members said Schultz’s wife and stepdaughter both had terminal illnesses, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Thomas Schultz’s next-door neighbor, Troy Quinn, said the two were chatting about a month ago, as they often did. This time, Quinn recalled, Schultz shared a bit about being a caretaker for his wife and stepdaughter.

”He was saying it’s kind of stressful, kind of getting overwhelming,” Quinn said. “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.”

On Wednesday morning, Quinn opened his garage door and found crime scene tape circling his neighbor’s home — and at least half a dozen Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office vehicles parked outside.

When he learned what had happened, Quinn said, “I was numb. It’s heartbreaking to me and my wife. It just doesn’t seem real.”

County records show the Schultzes bought the home in 2020.

Quinn, 55, recalls Tom Schultz telling him the couple had moved from Sun City Center. Quinn described Tom Schultz as “friendly and talkative, mild-mannered and respectful.” He was a “model neighbor,” Quinn said, the type who pulled Quinn’s empty garbage can back up to his garage on collection days.

Quinn said Tom Schultz served several years in the U.S. Air Force and was retired. He said Tom Schultz loved working in the yard of his immaculate, dark taupe ranch-style home.

Quinn met Joy Schultz once, when he was helping Tom install a television on the wall. She seemed nice, he said.

During that chat a month or so ago, Quinn said, Tom Schultz said he’d been taking his stepdaughter for cancer treatments.

Now Quinn’s last interaction with Tom Schultz, the day before the shooting, is gnawing at him.

Quinn pulled into his driveway on Tuesday morning and saw Schultz in his own driveway. The two men waved to each other. Quinn said “something on my heart” told him to go talk to his neighbor, to ask him how he was doing. But by the time Quinn got out of his car and started heading next door, Schultz had already driven away.

”I’ve been thinking about that all day,” Quinn said.

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. And here in the Tampa Bay area, we have such wonderful resources — some as easy as picking up the phone and calling the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, by simply dialing 211. It’s OK not to be OK; it’s just not OK not to ask for help.”

The three deaths Wednesday mark at least the ninth suspected murder-suicide involving people from the Tampa Bay area this year.

Need help?

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, reach out to the 24–hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255; contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741; or chat with someone online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay can be reached by dialing 211 or by visiting crisiscenter.com.

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