Monday, June 25, 2018
Public safety

Victim in Clearwater murder-suicide was denied restraining order

CLEARWATER — In March, Ingrid Agbebaku obtained a temporary restraining order against her husband, Eugene, arguing he had become dangerously unstable following his February arrest in a prostitution sting. Last month, a judge dissolved that order, saying Ingrid hadn't offered sufficient evidence it was needed.

On Tuesday, police say, Eugene Agbebaku, 33, broke into a Clearwater condominium where Ingrid was staying and shot her to death with a Russian-made assault rifle before killing himself.

The shootings occurred around 3:45 a.m. in a condominium complex on Abbey Crescent Lane, where Ingrid was staying with her grandmother. Authorities say after Eugene shot Ingrid, 32, he crossed the street and killed himself in front of Ingrid's parents' home.

The couple, who owned a house together in Wesley Chapel, had been scheduled to appear in divorce court the same day. Clearwater spokeswoman Joelle Castelli said they had two children.

Gerges Hanna, who has lived next door to the shooting scene for about six months, said he bolted into the street after hearing gunshots and found the couple's two children, ages 5 and 22 months, standing outside crying.

Hanna said Ingrid seemed "fine" when he and his family had dessert and drinks with her Sunday. "We talked about work," he said. "She was okay."

He added, weeping, "I can't imagine that she's killed."

Ingrid, listed as a student in court records, sought the domestic-violence restraining order against Eugene in Pasco County, asserting he had slipped into a downward spiral after he was caught in a prostitution crackdown in February by the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said Eugene, a UPS driver, solicited an undercover female deputy for sex and asked not to wear a condom.

Detectives said he later told them that he "wanted to contract a disease" and "admitted to being a sex addict who solicits prostitutes three to four times a week for unprotected sex."

In late February, just after his arrest, Eugene tried to kill himself by sitting in his car in the garage with the engine running, according to Ingrid's petition. She said he talked after that about suicide or leaving the country, saying "it would be best that our children didn't know him."

She said he was also briefly admitted to a mental-health treatment facility, only to return and break into the family home, destroying a television and cutting wires to the security system.

"I am afraid that his mental instability will harm us in the future," Ingrid wrote.

After reviewing her petition, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa dissolved the restraining order on May 7.

In a statement Tuesday evening responding to questions about the case from the Tampa Bay Times, Siracusa said, "While my heart goes out to the victim's family, and I fully understand their grief, I am bound by the laws of the state of Florida when I am asked to rule on these requests for injunctions." He declined to discuss the specific inadequacies in Ingrid's request.

Despite the couple's troubled history, Ingrid's relatives and neighbors said Tuesday that they were shocked by the outburst of violence on the normally quiet street off McMullen-Booth Road.

Hermogenes Diaz, Ingrid's uncle, said he worked out at the gym with her on Monday afternoon.

"She never imagined what would happen," Diaz said.

Mirdala Toledo, cousin of the dead woman's mother, called Ingrid "a very sweet mother" to her young son and daughter.

Police could not confirm whether the children were present when Ingrid was shot.

Times news researcher Carolyn Edds, staff writer Lisa Buie and information from Bay News 9 contributed to this report. Laura C. Morel can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8713.

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