Victims slain while they slept, shooter then turns gun on himself, Tavares police say

41-year-old man, 39-year-old woman identified as shooting victims

Crime scene tape outside a home where three people were killed in a murder suicide, according to Tavares police. (Image: Amanda Castro/WKMG)
Crime scene tape outside a home where three people were killed in a murder suicide, according to Tavares police. (Image: Amanda Castro/WKMG) (WKMG 2021)

TAVARES, Fla. – A 41-year-old man and a 39-year-old woman were shot and killed while they slept early Thursday and then the shooter took his own life, according to an update from the Tavares Police Department.

The victims later identified as James Delgiorno, 41, and Wendy Higgins, 39, were discovered Thursday morning in a home on Lakecrest Drive after Leesburg police requested a well-being check.

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Leesburg police were working a missing-endangered case searching for Joseph Mcguirl, 47, who had been making suicidal statements via text, according to authorities. Leesburg police were able to obtain his vehicle’s GPS data tracing it to Lakecrest Drive and Shorewood Drive near a home owned by Delgiorno.

Three people were found dead at a Tavares home Thursday in what police are calling a double murder and suicide.
Three people were found dead at a Tavares home Thursday in what police are calling a double murder and suicide.

Leesburg authorities notified Tavares police of Mcguirl’s vehicle whereabouts and that Delgiorno and Higgins were likely inside the home.

When Tavares police arrived, neighbors told them they heard possible gunshots around 3 a.m. Police then attempted to contact the people inside the home when they found the back sliding glass door shattered, according to authorities.

Police said they found Delgiorno and Higgins both shot to death in bed as though they had been sleeping.

Mcguirl was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on the floor next to Higgins’ side of the bed.

Investigators said Mcguirl and Higgins were previously in a romantic relationship but Higgins ended things. According to interviews, Mcguirl couldn’t accept that she had moved on with Delgiorno, which ultimately led to his actions, police said.