- Richard Christian Dillard, 55, killed himself outside the home in Irving, Texas.
- Rep. Van Duyne heard gunshots, went outside and found the body before calling 911.
- Investigators and the FBI will look into the motive and how Dillard got into the gated community.
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An ex-staffer died by suicide outside Republican congresswoman Beth Van Duyne’s home in Irving, Texas, on Wednesday afternoon.
Richard Christian Dillard, 55, killed himself outside the home of the first-term Texas representative while she was inside with others who all heard the gunshots, the Independent reported.
They went outside and found the body before Rep. Van Duyne called 911. Police responded to the call at 3.45pm, Robert Reeves, Public Information Officer at Irving Police Department, told NBC News.
Dillard was the congresswoman’s Campaign Communications Director from November 2019 to April 2020 and formerly worked as a public affairs officer for the Texas State Guard, The Dallas Morning News noted.
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In a statement read by her spokesperson Andrea Coker on Thursday, Rep. Van Duyne said Dillard was a longtime friend who had been in her home numerous times for holiday parties, fantasy football drafts, and other occasions, according to the Associated Press.
She continued: “I am still shocked and grieving that Chris would take his life. I’ve spoken with Chris’s mother to offer my condolences and asked her how to support her during this difficult time.
“I’m devastated for her, his daughter, and grandchildren, we are praying for Chris’s family and loved ones and ask that everyone please respect their privacy,” the former Mayor of Irving added.
Texas State Representative Matthew Krause also posted a tribute to the former staffer on his own Facebook page: “Very saddened to learn of the passing of Chris Dillard,” he continued, “RIP Chris. May your memory be a blessing for family and loved ones left behind.”
Investigators will look into the motive and how Dillard got into the gated community. The FBI is assisting in the investigation.
Police say there is no reason to believe there is a further threat to Rep. Van Duyne.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.
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