The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of a deputy who committed suicide.
Sgt. Max Van D’Huynslager, 42, died Saturday morning from a self-inflicted injury, according to the sheriff’s office.
Van D’Huynslage, who had served in the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office since 2008, was not on duty when five women were shot and killed in a bank in Sebring, authorities said.
“There is no indication that his death was in any way connected with the tragic events at the SunTrust Bank on that day,” a press release stated.
Before he joined the agency, Van D’Huynslager worked for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Cape Coral Police Department and the Clewiston Police Department.
He leaves behind a wife and an 8-year-old daughter, according to the sheriff’s office.
The news follows a rash of suicide cases involving deputies in Tampa Bay and surrounding areas.
“We ask for prayers and support for his family, friends and our agency family,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said. “We are stunned and heartbroken by this tragedy. Rest assured that the Sheriff’s Office is doing everything possible to comfort Max’s family, as well as all of our members, to help everyone get through the coming days and weeks. We ask that you please respect the family’s privacy during this most difficult of times. We have resources standing by. If anyone is suffering a mental crisis, please reach out to any Sheriff’s Office member.”
If you’re thinking about suicide or worried about someone who might be, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to connect with a local crisis center. You can also text the Crisis Text Line by messaging 741741. Those in law enforcement can text the word BLUE.