Deputy Who Killed People In California Killed Himself With His Work Gun

(Associated Press) — Riverside, California Authorities announced on Saturday that a Virginia sheriff’s deputy who is suspected of traveling to California in order to murder three members of the family of a 15-year-old girl whose sexual services he attempted to extort online took his own life using a handgun that was supplied by the government.

Authorities say that on November 25, Austin Lee Edwards, 28, traveled across the nation, killed the girl’s mother and grandparents, and then set fire to their home in Riverside, California, which is located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of the downtown area of Los Angeles. Edwards took his own life during a gun battle with San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies on the same day that he committed suicide. The young woman in her teens was saved.

“Our detectives found the gun used was Edwards’ department-issued semi-automatic service handgun,” Gloria Huerta, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said in a statement on behalf of the department. The Riverside Police Department, which is looking into the deaths of the girl’s family members, has not provided any information regarding the manner in which they died.

According to the statements made by the police, Edwards, who is a resident of North Chesterfield, Virginia, appears to have posed online as a 17-year-old boy in order to engage in a romantic relationship with the girl and obtain her personal information by deceiving her with a false identity. This practice is commonly referred to as “catfishing.”

Deputy Who Killed People In California Killed Himself With His Work Gun
Deputy Who Killed People In California Killed Himself With His Work Gun

According to the authorities, the girl cut off all communication with him when he requested that she give him images of herself in her underwear. At the time of the killings, Edwards was working as a sheriff’s deputy in Washington County, Virginia. He had previously served as a trooper for the state of Virginia.

Both law enforcement organizations have stated that they did not discover any warning indications regarding Edwards prior to him being employed by either of them. However, a report from the Abingdon Police Department in Virginia reveals that he was taken into custody in 2016 for a psychiatric examination after making threats to harm both himself and his father. This occurred years before he began his career in law enforcement.

A review that was just finished showed that “human error” was the cause of an incomplete database query that occurred during the hiring process, the Virginia State Police said on Thursday, a day after the Los Angeles Times broke the news about the mental health episode. The news was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office did not provide a response when contacted by phone about the incident that occurred in 2016.

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