Florida man kills himself after day-long standoff with deputies

Gary Cauley barricaded himself inside home with 6-year-old daughter


LAKELAND, Fla. – A Florida man killed himself Sunday more than 24 hours after he barricaded himself inside a Lakeland home with his 6-year-old year daughter, authorities said.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said 39-year-old Gary Cauley shot himself as a SWAT team introduced a chemical agent into the home in an attempt to subdue him. Cauley had allowed his daughter, Rylan, to leave the home about 30 minutes earlier, Judd said. She was not hurt during the incident.

Deputies said Cauley arrived at the home of his estranged wife around 4 a.m. Saturday. Around 1 p.m. Saturday, Cauley became angry when he found out that his wife planned to go to the beach with another man, deputies said. Armed with a handgun, Cauley threatened to kill himself and refused to let Rylan leave the house, deputies said.

Cauley's wife contacted authorities and ran out of the house when deputies arrived.

As law enforcement surrounded the home, Cauley remained in the house with Rylan until Sunday afternoon, deputies said. Throughout the standoff, Cauley spoke with hostage negotiators and told them he did not intend to harm his daughter, Judd said.

"We're never comfortable with a man that's got a gun, that's threatening suicide and not allowing his daughter, or whoever the hostage is, to leave," Judd said. "Because a person who is suicidal can very easily be homicidal."

Judd said Cauley frequently told negotiators that he would end the standoff and release his daughter, but by Sunday morning he was still inside house with Rylan.

Gary Cauley
Gary Cauley

However, around 1:30 p.m., Cauley released Rylan to the deputies outside. He told the girl to trust the deputies and that he was going to kill himself, Judd said.

About 30 minutes later, deputies sent a robot probe into the house and repeatedly asked Cauley to surrender. As deputies pumped the chemical agent into the home, Cauley walked out the front door, put the gun in his mouth and shot himself, Judd said.

Cauley was pronounced dead at the scene.

Judd said Cauley had a lengthy criminal record and as a convicted felon, he was not permitted to own a gun. He was on probation in a domestic violence case.

"Why in the world would you subject your children to this?" Judd said.