Riverside, Calif. ( Associated Press) – A Virginia police officer who detectives say traveled to California to kill three members of the family of a 15-year-old girl he tried to have sex with online did so with his service weapon. committed suicide, officials said Saturday.
Austin Lee Edwards, 28, drove to the other side of the country and killed the minor’s mother and grandparents on November 25 and set fire to the family home in Riverside, a city about 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Los Angeles. . , officials said.
That same day, Edwards committed suicide in the midst of a shootout with San Bernardino police officers. The teenager was saved.
“Our detectives have determined that the weapon used was Edwards’ semi-automatic service pistol that was provided by his department,” police spokeswoman Gloria Huerta said in a statement.
The Riverside Police Department, which is investigating the slaying of the minor’s relatives, has not released details about the crime.
According to police, Edwards, a resident of North Chesterfield, Virginia, allegedly posed as a 17-year-old girl online to form a romantic relationship with the girl and obtain her personal information through a fake profile.
Officers indicated the teen stopped talking to him after he asked her to send him nude photos.
At the time of the murders, Edwards was a Washington County, Virginia, police officer and former Virginia state trooper.
Both law enforcement agencies have insisted they found no red flags before hiring Edwards. But a police report from the Abingdon, Virginia Police Department shows that he was taken into custody in 2016 for psychiatric evaluation for threatening to kill himself and his father before joining the police.
On Thursday, a day after the Los Angeles Times broke the story about the mental health incident, the Virginia State Police reported that a recently completed review revealed that “human error” may have contributed to the incompleteness of the database during the hiring process. The reason for the query was
The Washington County Police Department has not responded to calls seeking comment about the 2016 incident.