RIVERVIEW — A nearly seven-hour SWAT standoff came to a grisly end Monday when first responders pulled two dead men from a Riverview apartment that had been set on fire, the result of an apparent murder-suicide, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said.
The daylong stalemate began shortly after 7:30 a.m. when deputies responded to the 6000 block of Cypressdale Drive. A 911 caller said he had received a FaceTime call from a friend who told him he had killed his boyfriend during a dispute.
SWAT team members and crisis negotiators joined deputies outside condo 102 in a building in the Villages of Bloomingdale, a gated community in Riverview nestled between U.S. Highway 301 and Interstate 75.
Inside the home, 30-year-old Keith Jackson was confessing to killing his boyfriend - “the love of his life,” he said - in a live video streamed on Facebook, Chronister said.
Jackson refused to answer phone calls or open the door for deputies who had surrounded his home, Chronister said. But on Facebook, the crisis negotiators watched as he held a gun up to the camera and told viewers he had just shot and killed his boyfriend. In the video, Jackson said he wanted to kill himself, but had tried and failed to do so three times since killing his boyfriend.
Then, Jackson said he wanted the sheriff’s office to enter his condo and end his life, Chronister said.
“During this great length of time our negotiators are talking to him and trying to de-escalate him in any way that we can,” Chronister said. “He gets frustrated with us that we’re not going to take his life and, just before 1 p.m. this afternoon, tells our negotiators, ‘If you guys aren’t going to do this we’re back at square one. I’m going to have to take matters into my own hands.”
Moments later, just after noon, Chronister said, the surrounding deputies saw smoke rising from the rear of Jackson’s condo and called Hillsborough County Fire Rescue to the scene. Members of the Sheriff’s SWAT team had to cover responding firefighters as they rushed to extinguish the flames and pull Jackson from the home.
The responding firefighters acted quickly enough to save surrounding condos from damage during the blaze, Chronister said. After firefighters burst into the barricaded condo, they pulled the bodies of two dead men from the flames - Jackson and the man he claimed to have killed.
Chronister did not release the identity of the second man found dead inside Jackson’s condo, or provide any details on his cause of death. The agency said he was in his late 20s to early 30s.
The men’s bodies were taken to the county medical examiner’s office to determine an official cause of death. Deputies obtained a search warrant for the condo, Chronister said.
The harrowing standoff came the day after a group of deputies under Chronister’s watch came under fire in the Northdale area while conducting a welfare check on a child. No deputies were struck.
“I think our community is on edge and this community has become too violent,” Chronister said. “I don’t know what it’s going to take, who it’s going to take being killed for us to finally say enough is enough and, as a society and a community, we’re not going to tolerate any additional violence. Because I tell you what, I’m tired of notifying individuals that their family member is deceased.”