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The Virginia state trooper accused of “catfishing” a 15-year-old girl and then killing three members of her family fatally shot himself using his own service weapon following a law enforcement chase. 

Austin Lee Edwards, who posed as a 17-year-old boy online to solicit nude photographs from the teen, killed himself with during a shootout with San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies in late November.   

“Detectives determined the gun used was Edwards’ department-issued semi-automatic service pistol,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said Friday in an email to the Los Angeles Times.

Dozens of candles are laid on the sidewalk for the teen and her family that was killed.
The Virginia sheriff’s deputy who is accused of “catfishing” a 15-year-old girl and killing members of her family fatally shot himself.
AP
A picture of Austin Lee Edwards.
Austin Lee Edwards, posed as a 17-year-old boy online to solicit nude photographs from a 15-year-old girl.
Virginia State Police
The teenage girl’s grandparents, 69-year-old Mark Winek and 65-year-old Sharie Winek found dead inside the home.
The teenage girl’s grandparents, 69-year-old Mark Winek and 65-year-old Sharie Winek were found dead inside the home.

A picture of Brooke Winek,
38-year-old Brooke Winek, the mother of the 15-year-old girl, was one of the victims killed.

Edwards traveled across the country from Virginia to the Riverside home of the teen. After shooting the girl’s mom and grandparents dead, authorities said he set fire to her home and drove off with the girl, eventually killing himself. 

Virginia State Police said this week that Edward’s hiring was the result of “human error” after it was revealed that he had been detained in 2016 for a psychiatric evaluation over threats to kill his father and himself. 

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