Town 'N Country, Florida -- Hillsborough deputies arrived to a gruesome scene in the Pinehurst Community of Town 'N Country where they found two people shot dead in a car Thursday morning.
Photo Gallery: Apparent murder-suicide in Town 'N Country
The two people, identified as Deanna and Pedro Mendoza, were married but separated at the time of the shooting.
Investigators say preliminary evidence indicates Deanna, 34, had driven to the home Pedro was living at in the 8300 block of Galewood Circle. When she pulled into the driveway, Pedro, 42, came out and shot her in the head as she sat in the driver's seat.
He then got into the backseat and turned the gun on himself. The investigation is ongoing.
Deanna had been working as a 911 dispatcher for the Tampa Police Department at the time of her death.
She began working with the department in October 2009. In January 2012, she was named the department's Employee of the Month and had been recognized for volunteering to assist supervisors with training new dispatchers working the midnight shift. Six months later, she was promoted from Communications Technician II to Dispatch Trainer.
Tampa Police says Deanna also received praise for her ability to calmly handle chaotic emergency situations and for continuously displaying an upbeat attitude.
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor released the following email to TPD employees and officers Thursday upon learning about Deanna's sudden and tragic death:
It is with great sadness that I inform you that we have lost a family member.
Deanna Mendoza was the victim of a domestic homicide earlier today. Her life was taken by her estranged husband, who in turn killed himself. The investigation is being handled by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, as this occurred in the county.
Deanna has been a part of the TPD family since 2009. She was hired as a Communications Technician I and worked her way up to Communications Technician III. She was a valued member of our team and a wonderful person. She leaves behind three children, other family members and countless friends.
We have attempted to personally notify everyone in the Communications Division, as she has worked all shifts and touched everyone's life. Grief counselors are at the Communications Division now, assisting with needs as they arise.
Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers. I will provide additional information as it becomes available.
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