1. News

Jury hears about Matthew Buendia's struggles with PTSD before shooting Hillsborough deputy

Matthew Buendia is charged with attempted murder in the shooting of a Hillsborough deputy.
Published Oct. 6, 2015

TAMPA — Before Matthew Buendia was accused of trying to kill a Hillsborough sheriff's deputy, he was irritable, sleep-deprived, had trouble remembering and was prone to fits of rage.

Those traits are hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that afflicted Buendia after his time in combat with the Marine Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The jury in Buendia's attempted murder trial heard Monday that the condition may have caused him to lose touch with reality the night of Sept. 30, 2011.

That night, according to prosecutors, Buendia shot Hillsborough sheriff's Deputy Lyonelle De Veaux three times after she arrived at his apartment complex to investigate a report of domestic violence.

De Veaux testified last week. The state has rested its case. Ernest Boswell, a forensic psychologist, testified Monday for Buendia's defense, detailing the 28-year-old's experiences in combat and subsequent history of mental illness.

In Afghanistan especially, Buendia saw fellow Marines killed and endured constant threats to his own life. When he came home, he struggled to adapt to civilian life.

Once, he left his seat while attending a football game with a friend. Minutes later, he called the friend's cellphone and said he didn't know where he was and couldn't find his way back.

While working in an office job, he began swearing and slamming down boxes when he was told to move to another cubicle. He draped an American flag over a computer keyboard. The incident happened the same day that a friend of Buendia's was redeployed to Afghanistan.

Months before the shooting, a car crashed through Buendia's apartment while he was taking a nap on a couch. Waking amid crumbling sheetrock, he believed he was back in combat. The investigating deputy was De Veaux.

Buendia had sought help from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where doctors prescribed a wide variety of pills. At one point, Buendia was taking 17 medications per day.

He developed a drinking problem. He smoked marijuana to increase his appetite and help him relax.

The night of the shooting, Buendia "was in a state of hypervigilance," Boswell testified. "Irritable, paranoid."

The psychologist told the jury: "Matthew Buendia unequivocally has PTSD,"

Buendia is charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and other felonies. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

Contact Dan Sullivan at or (813) 226-3386. Follow @TimesDan.


  1. Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria, charged with murder in the stabbing deaths of John Travlos and Germana Morin aboard Travlos' houseboat in 2013, takes the stand in his own defense Tuesday. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria, accused of killing two aboard a houseboat in 2013, told a different version of the same story his girlfriend told. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
  2. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    One of the messages included a picture of a pellet gun, Tampa police said.
  3. The lobby bar at the Current Hotel on Rocky Point in Tampa serves eclectic cocktails and locally brewed coffee. SARA DINATALE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Take a look inside Tampa Bay’s newest boutique hotel.
  4. Adjunct faculty at St. Petersburg College voted to unionize Tuesday, joining thousands of other adjuncts across Florida who are fighting for better working conditions and pay. [Times]
    The employees are the seventh group in Florida to join Service Employees International Union in recent yeas as it pushes for investment in the state’s higher education institutions.
  5. A pauper's cemetery was established at the northeast corner of property now occupied by King High School in Tampa, location of the school gymnasium (tall building at top left) and the main parking lot. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Conflicting versions emerge of where Ridgewood Cemetery was located. One thing is certain: It was ignored or forgotten.
  6. The University of South Florida ranked ahead of UCF, FIU and FAU in the U.S. News & World Report's Global University Rankings. [USF handout]
    The University of Florida finished 105th, while USF came in at 310. Harvard led the world.
  7. An anti-government protester raises his hands during clashes with police in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. The government said Tuesday that 15 people have died in five days of rioting, arson and violent clashes that were sparked by a hike in subway fares and have almost paralyzed the country. RODRIGO ABD  |  AP
    Riot police used tear gas and streams of water to break up marches by rock-throwing demonstrators in several streets of Santiago on Tuesday.
  8. The Florida Bar wants the state’s highest court to immediately suspend the law license of Tampa attorney Jose Angel Toledo, ex-husband of state Rep. Jackie Toledo. FACEBOOK PAGE  |  Su Abogado Hispano
    José Angel Toledo, ex-husband of state Rep. Jackie Toledo, abandoned his law practice, according to the petition from the Florida Bar.
  9. West Palm Beach police spokeswoman Molly Anderson said during a news conference on Tuesday that Department of Homeland Security agents arrested Rudelmiro Santizo Perez on Monday in Houston as he tried to flee to Guatemala. West Palm Beach Police Department/Facebook
    Police began investigating on Oct. 3 when a hidden camera was found inside an employee bathroom at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
  10. This Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, photo shows the graded dirt surface where sod will be placed in November inside what will be the stadium for David Beckham’s Inter Miami MLS soccer team that opens its inaugural season in 2020 at the site of the former Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. TIM REYNOLDS  |  AP
    Construction is on schedule, with all signals pointing toward everything being ready for the team’s first home match that’s likely to come in March.