In a bizarre, shocking, and saddening incident, a former staffer for freshman Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas) appears to have shot and killed himself outside the congresswoman's home, and police for now are puzzled at his motive.
The incident was first reported by the Dallas Morning News, who noted that police were called to Van Duyne's house on Wednesday afternoon after she called them, reporting that she heard gunshots outside her home and went outside to find a man on the sidewalk leading to the front porch of the home, who was apparently dead. The man was later identified as Chris Dillard, who served as a spokesman for Van Duyne's campaign until April 2020.
Police say Van Duyne was home at the time of the incident, but did not witness it. Irving police say that they have already searched Dillard's home, and can find no motive for his suicide, or its location. They also indicated that they did not find anything that would indicate that there is any further threat to Van Duyne.
A statement released by Van Duyne said, "I'm still shocked and grieving that Chris would take his life. We had known each other for years. He had been to my home numerous times for holiday parties, fantasy football draft parties, and get-togethers with friends. The last time I heard from him was over text in early January, to share pictures of his family. I've spoken with Chris's mother to offer my condolences and asked her how to support her during this difficult time. I'm devastated for her, his daughter and grandchildren, we are praying for Chris's family and loved ones and ask that everyone please respect their privacy. Thank you."
Van Duyne previously served as mayor of Irving, Texas, and served as a regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump administration. She stepped down from that position in 2019 to run for the seat that was being vacated by the retirement of former Rep. Kenny Marchant.
Van Duyne was endorsed by President Trump in one of the most hotly contested races in the country, narrowly defeating Democrat Candace Valenzuela to win her first term in Congress.