Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Public safety

Two dead in Wesley Chapel are likely victims of murder-suicide

WESLEY CHAPEL — A man and a woman who were found dead inside a car at the Target parking lot Thursday night are the apparent victims of a murder-suicide, authorities said.

Pasco County sheriff's detectives think Armando Troconis, 65, shot his girlfriend Elizabeth Behrens, 59, several times in her car and then shot himself. Troconis lived in Holiday. Behrens lived in Tampa.

Troconis and Behrens were both separated from their respective spouses, Sheriff Chris Nocco said. Behrens had told Troconis she was planning to get back together with her husband, though, the sheriff said.

"This is a very sensitive situation for all the families involved," Nocco said.

Neither Troconis nor Behrens had any criminal record in Florida.

Tronconis' son, Matthew, said he and other family members didn't want to comment.

Behrens attended St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in New Tampa and was involved in a women's group there. An email to the members with the subject line "Go to Jesus" invited them to come to the church Friday for prayer. Those who were gathered there declined to comment.

The bodies were found about 7:48 p.m. Thursday outside the store at 1201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., near the Pasco-Hillsborough county line, according to Pasco County sheriff's officials. It's unclear when the shooting happened, but Behrens' car was still running when authorities arrived.

Deputies cordoned off a section of the parking lot, and the bodies remained in the car for hours as detectives investigated.

By Friday morning, customers who arrived at Target saw no evidence of the incident.

"That is crazy," said Jossie Villalta, 35, of Wesley Chapel, who was loading merchandise into her car.

Christen Miller, 32, was shopping with her 16-month-old daughter.

"We didn't know anything about it," she said. A random violent incident might make her think twice about shopping in the area, but a domestic situation wouldn't worry her.

"I've never felt unsafe here," said Miller, a frequent Target customer. "This is generally a nice area."

Target corporate spokeswoman Meghan Mike said the store was partnering with law enforcement in the case and referred further questions to the Sheriff's Office.

Detectives are also checking for any surveillance camera footage and asking anyone who saw anything to contact the Pasco County Sheriff's Office toll-free at 1-800-854-2862.

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