Hillsborough deputy slain in murder-suicide was ‘bright spot in a dark world’

Abigail Rose Bieber, 30, was romantically involved with the detective who fatally shot her and then himself, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputy Abigail Bieber, 30, was fatally shot Saturday night in St. Augustine. She had worked with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office since February 2018.
Deputy Abigail Bieber, 30, was fatally shot Saturday night in St. Augustine. She had worked with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office since February 2018. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Feb. 1, 2022|Updated Feb. 3, 2022

Editor’s note: This story includes discussion of suicide. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or, or call the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay by dialing 2-1-1 or its first responders hotline at 866-435-4376.

TAMPA — A deputy shot to death by a detective with whom she had a romantic relationship has been identified as a 30-year-old Clearwater woman who has worked four years with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Abigail Bieber was killed Saturday while vacationing with other deputies at a rental home in the Butler Beach area of Anastasia Island, near St. Augustine, the Sheriff’s Office said. She was shot and killed by Hillsborough Detective Daniel Leyden, 31, after others in the home heard the two arguing in a bedroom, the Sheriff’s Office said. Leyden then fatally shot himself.

Related: People seen fleeing home before Hillsborough deputies’ murder-suicide there

Leyden had been a detective since June 2021 with the sheriff’s Gunfire Response Investigations Team, created by Chronister in response to a rise in shootings countywide.

The St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t released details of the shootings, saying it remains an active investigation. Before hearing gunfire, neighbors saw deputies evacuating people through the second-story windows of the vacation rental and calling for a man inside to come out with his hands on his head.

Related: Cross-state procession held for Hillsborough deputy shot to death on vacation

The Sheriff’s Office released Bieber’s name after consulting with her family. Funeral arrangements have not been set.

Bieber worked as a patrol officer in northwest Hillsborough and was a passionate advocate for child victims, often responding to calls related to sexual battery and child abuse, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Tuesday. She aspired to work as a detective with the office’s Special Victims Section.

Known for her contagious smile, Bieber was described by a squadmate as “a friend to fellow deputies and a bright spot in a dark world,” according to the news release. She was known as a caring and empathetic deputy with the demeanor of a veteran officer. Bieber joined the Sheriff’s Office in February 2018.

Retired Hillsborough lieutenant Andrew Baxter said Bieber used to work on the midnight shift platoon that he supervised. Baxter recalled joking with Bieber whenever they saw each other in the break room. While Baxter usually ate some sort of fast food, he’d always run into Bieber heating up healthy home-cooked meals in the microwave, he said.

Supervisors across the agency respected Bieber and were always trying to get her on their shifts, Baxter said, and no one ever had anything bad to say about her.

“She had the respect of her supervisors, and that’s kind of tough to do when you’re that young in the career,” he said.

Seeing one law enforcement officer accused of killing another, especially when the slain deputy was someone he knew, “was personal on a few different levels,” Baxter said.

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“She’s an angel on Earth, essentially, and she was brutally murdered by another one of us,” he said. “And it’s not an easy pill to swallow.”

Former Hillsborough deputy Erika Delgado described Bieber as a good friend and a good listener.

“If you needed something, doesn’t matter what, you could just call her up,” said Delgado, 27.

Delgado said Bieber had recently purchased a house, which property records list as a single-family home in northeast Clearwater. Bieber liked to run near her home and spend time outdoors. Her two German shepherds — Louis and Pepper — were her “babies,” Delgado said.

Bieber came from a law enforcement family. Her brother, Ben Bieber, is a K-9 officer with the Clearwater Police Department, and Baxter said she also had another brother in law enforcement.

After Bieber’s death, dozens of deputies gathered over drinks to remember her, Delgado said. One drink sat among the deputies, set aside for Bieber. Next to it, a napkin with a note:

“This one’s for you. We got it from here,” they wrote. “We miss you.”

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Motor Unit will escort Bieber’s body from St. Augustine to Clearwater on Wednesday. The public is invited to view the procession as the motorcade passes the agency’s District III Office around 12:15 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Tuesday night.

Members of the public can park in the Macy’s parking lot at Citrus Park Mall and watch the procession from there, according to the release. Motorists should expect traffic delays along the route.

How to get help

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. The Florida Coalition of Domestic Violence can be reached at 800-500-1119. There are local agencies in the Tampa Bay area to reach out to for help.

In Hillsborough County, you can call or text The Spring of Tampa Bay’s 24-hour crisis line at 813-247-7233 or visit online at

In Pinellas County, you can call the Community Action Stops Abuse 24-hour hotline at 727-895-4912, text or visit

In Pasco County, you can contact Sunrise of Pasco County at its 24-hour hotline at888-668-7273 or 352-521-3120, or go online at