The 55 year old man who shot himself in the head outside of Rep. Van Duyne’s home has been identified as her former campaign staffer, Richard Christian Dillard.
Dillard had worked on her campaign as the communications director, and had been active within the Texas Republican Party, but his most recent position was as a public affairs officer for the Texas State Guard.
Van Duyne did not witness the suicide, but she did find Dillard’s body on her walkway at around 3:45 p.m. after hearing a gunshot and opening her front door.
The Irving Police are still investigating how Dillard was able to enter Van Duyne’s gated community. The officers have confirmed that Dillard, who has a daughter and multiple grandchildren, died from a single gunshot wound to the head. There is no evidence that he had any mental health issues prior to his suicide.
Van Duyne Responds
Andrea Coker, a spokesperson for Van Duyne, spoke to local news outlet KTVT soon after the suicide. “The Irving police arrived immediately and made sure the area was secure, and she has been speaking with them since,” Coker said.
“She is shocked and saddened that someone would take their own life. We have no further comment at this time,” she added.
When the body was identified as Dillard, Van Duyne released a statement on Twitter offering her condolences to his family.
“I am 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,” Dillard wrote.
I am 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.
— Beth Van Duyne (@Bethvanduyne) February 11, 2021
“The last time I heard from him was over text in early January to share pictures of his family. I have spoken with Chris’ mother to offer my condolences and ask how to support her during this difficult time,” she wrote in a second tweet.
“I am 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,” her third tweet read.