It is hard enough to see an officer die in the line of duty. To see it like this is even worse.
It may yet turn out that this story is exactly what it appears to be on its face, and that is a tragic enough story in its own right.
From the Stephenville-Empire Tribune:
Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant was found dead inside his home late Monday night of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to city and county officials.
Bryant’s death comes less than one week after news broke that he was under investigation by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement for allegedly cheating on his continuing education training.
Bryant was first elected to office in 1997 after defeating longtime sheriff David Coffee.
From the Dallas News:
Bryant was one of the lead investigators in the double murder of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield at a gun range in February 2013.
Eddie Ray Routh, a former Marine corporal, was found guilty of capital murder in the slayings two years later. Kyle and his best friend, Littlefield, had taken Routh to the range to help him with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement reprimanded Bryant in March for not completing a 40-hour continued education training course. The training is required by the Legislature to keep law enforcement officials up to date on changes to laws, yourstephenvilletx.com reported last week.
Bryant told the news site he didn’t even realize he hadn’t finished the training until he returned from a Sheriff’s Association of Texas conference over the summer. He said the next thing he knew, former sheriff’s Deputy Cameron Ray had taken the course for him to get him caught up.
Sgt. Stan Roper told yourstephenvilletx.com that they’d spoken as part of the investigation into the sheriff’s office, but Bryant disputed that.
“I don’t know of any investigation against me and I don’t know why there would be one,” Bryant told yourstephenvilletx.com. “I have done nothing wrong.”
We offer our condolences and support to the family. They have lost a loved one. No matter the explanation, it is a tragedy for them.
But for the rest of us, we ask that careful account is made to determine that they have correctly identified the circumstances of his death. A suicide is heartbreaking enough. A murder disguised as one mocks justice twice… the victim being blamed for the hurt his family has left behind, and the killer walking free.
It is always hard to accept the thought of someone taking their own life.
We hope that the evidence provides conclusive answers one way or the other and that the family can get the closure they need.