Ex-spokesman kills self outside Texas congresswoman’s home

IRVING, Texas (AP) — A former campaign spokesman for freshman Rep. Beth Van Duyne, of Texas, shot and killed himself outside of the Irving Republican’s home, police said Thursday.

The congresswoman was inside her home when she heard a gunshot Wednesday afternoon, looked outside and saw Richard Christian Dillard’s body, Officer Robert Reeves said. The police department said investigators had not determined a motive.

Dillard’s online profile shows that he was the communications director for Van Duyne’s campaign until last April. He also was a public affairs officer for the Texas State Guard.

In a statement read to reporters Thursday by her spokeswoman Andrea Coker, Van Duyne said Dillard was a longtime friend who had been in her home numerous times for holiday parties, fantasy football drafts and other occasions.

“I am still shocked and grieving that Chris would take his life,” she said.

“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,” Van Duyne, a former Irving mayor, added.

In her statement, she did not speculate as to why Dillard might have killed himself or why he chose to do it in front of her home.

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