The Tampa Bay law enforcement community was dealing with another loss Saturday of one of its own.
- Pinellas deputy found dead from self-inflicted gunshot wound
- Officials say Deputy Carlos Felipez committed suicide
- This is the 3rd suicide by a first responder in 2 weeks
Officials said a Pinellas County deputy died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound early Saturday morning.
Spectrum News normally does not report on suicides, but it marked a tragic trend — it was the third first responder to commit suicide in two weeks.
Deputies were called to a home in unincorporated Clearwater at about 1:07 a.m. about a report of a gunshot sound and welfare check.
When deputies arrived, they found Deputy Carlos Felipez dead in the backyard of his home. Officials consider his death a suicide.
Felipez began his service with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in 2014 and worked in the Patrol Operations Bureau.
The Sheriff’s Office posted a photo on Facebook from September 17, when Felipez and a Sgt. Doyle responded to a call about an injured bald eagle:
The department also lost a sergeant in 2017 to suicide.
The Sheriff’s Office has a program in place to help others who may be struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. And anyone can call the National Suicide Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
This is the third time a first responder has committed suicide in two weeks. Plant City school security deputy Terry Strawn, 58, shot and killed himself after killing his wife, daughter, and granddaughter on December 19. St. Petersburg Fire Rescue firefighter Todd Rosenberger, 40, also took his life on December 19.
And in September, Hillsborough Deputy Kirk Keithley shot and killed his wife, then himself.