...Ciesla’s wife, Amy, was walking away from their marriage amid his threats of violence. He’d just quit his beloved job in law enforcement, and the Cape Coral Police Department refused to hire him. In his last conversation, with a handgun pointed at Amy Ciesla, her father, uncle and aunt in their Cape Coral home, he told her it was all her fault... The shoot-out, [Amy] Ciesla would later conclude, wasn’t without warning...
...In the 4-minute tape, a man in the background asks “Do you want me to shoot you?” Another woman — likely wife Amy Ciesla — says, “Please put the gun down”... Toward the end of the tape, Thomas Ciesla apparently asks “Who’d you call?” Amy Ciesla answers “I called 911.” Eight seconds later, the phone line goes dead...
...Ciesla pulled out a handgun and held it to his wife’s head... “...I’m going to get even with you for what you did to me... And you’re going to watch your family die...”
Shooting rampage baffles Sheriff's Office
Former deputy’s killings, suicide unforeseen, sheriff says; Cape Coral police have not released motive, but say Ciesla was distraught over impending divorce
No one at the Collier County Sheriff's Office saw it coming.
June 27, 2006
Sheriff Don Hunter said Monday there were no telltale signs indicating what was in store for the in-laws of a former deputy, who resigned from the Sheriff's Office three days before killing himself and two members of his estranged wife's family... It appeared Thomas Ciesla was functioning within the norms here," Hunter said... "Why would someone react so violently ... especially someone like Ciesla, who has every opportunity to seek out support from the agency, where it is available to him?"... Having two officers who killed themselves within months of each other is uncommon, Hunter said... the Sheriff's Office has several counseling programs in place for deputies who need an emotional or psychological outlet, he said. In addition to allowing group discussion sessions among officers following particularly distressing events, the Sheriff's Office has contracts with several therapists, who are readily available for use by deputies... It is unknown whether Ciesla was utilizing any of the counseling resources... In his application to the Collier Sheriff's Office, Ciesla admitted to using marijuana recreationally before becoming a deputy... was reprimanded in two performance reviews for using too many sick days... also verbally reprimanded for having an "attitude problem" with some of his supervisors... Ciesla resigned from the Sheriff's Office suddenly following a policy disagreement with his supervisor... told a superior he was tired of working as a corrections officer and working with supervisors... distraught over his impending divorce. He was also upset, because his application to join the Cape Coral Police Department had been denied, officials said. City and police officials were slated to release his application to the media Monday, but had not done so by late afternoon... Amy Ciesla filed for divorce June 6. In court papers, Amy Ciesla cited "irreconcilable differences" as a reason for her divorce request. The petition said the couple had been separated since May... Cape Coral police are investigating the crime as a domestic dispute...
Friends, neighbors seek answers in murders
3 die, while 4th victim is wounded in dispute, police report
June 24, 2006
Family friends Ted and Peggy Deily of Cape Coral spoke with shooting survivor Thomas Lindner Friday night, and they said he told them what happened. Ciesla pulled out a handgun and held it to his wife’s head, Lindner told them. Lindner said he didn’t know what set him off. “Tom said, ‘I’m going to get even with you for what you did to me,’ ” Ted Deily said. “And you’re going to watch your family die... And that’s when he started blasting.” The Deilys went to the hospital to comfort Lindner Friday night, and they were there when the social worker walked into the room at about 3 a.m. Saturday and told him his wife was dead.... Looking exhausted, Lindner said he didn’t want to speak about what he had witnessed. In a soft, tired voice he said, “No, not now.”... Police first learned of the incident at 9:15 p.m. Friday, when someone called on a cell phone to report domestic violence. Barnes wouldn’t say who called. Police initially reported the caller hung up, but later said the phone line remained open throughout the incident and recorded what was going on in the house.
Originally posted on June 26, 2006
,,,Ciesla took a handgun and shot and killed Thomas Podejko, 63, and Carol Lindner, 62, at their Cape Coral house. Then Ciesla killed himself as a police officer arrived on the scene... Ciesla was going through a divorce with his wife, Amy Ciesla, who was at the house and was the only person not killed or injured in the incident. The murder victims were his wife's father and aunt. Her uncle, Thomas Lindner, was injured...
June 27, 2006
...Ciesla told co-workers at the Immokalee Jail Center that he was distressed over his ongoing divorce, Hunter said. "(But) there were no indications of him having homicidal or suicidal tendencies."... Recently, supervisors also got training on how to recognize deputies under mental stress. All those precautions aren't foolproof, though, Hunter added. "Everybody's threshold is different. We're unable to predict how a given member of the agency will react on any given day."... Thomas Ciesla's wife had filed for a divorce June 6, according to the Lee County Clerk of Courts office. She cited "irreconcilable differences."... Ted and Peggy Deily, friends of the Podejko family, said Saturday that the divorce and Ciesla's failed application to the Cape police department sent him over the edge... Autopsies have been performed, Cape police said, but they wouldn't release details such as where the victims were shot and how many times...Overall, Hunter said Monday, Ciesla's job performance had been satisfactor...
June 27, 2006
Ex-deputy’s life decayed just before shootings, wife said
Thomas Ciesla killed himself, two others on June 23
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
His wife begged and pleaded, tried to be rational, offered anything if he’d put down the gun. He didn’t listen. Just kept smoking a cigarette, his body shaking, saying it was her turn to hurt. Then he heard the sirens and opened fire... Ciesla’s wife, Amy, was walking away from their marriage amid his threats of violence. He’d just quit his beloved job in law enforcement, and the Cape Coral Police Department refused to hire him. In his last conversation, with a handgun pointed at Amy Ciesla, her father, uncle and aunt in their Cape Coral home, he told her it was all her fault... He aimed at her 63-year-old father, Thomas Bruce Podejko, and shot him in the face. He turned to her aunt Carol Lindner, 62, and shot her twice in the back... The uncle, Thomas Lindner, then 63, dove around the couch and took a bullet to the hand... Then, she said, her husband pointed the gun at her. "He held it there for what feels like forever but was really just a couple seconds. And then he put it to his head and shot himself. And he went down." There once was a time, years before, when Amy Ciesla wondered if her bottled-up husband would ever show emotion. In the final months of his life, he wailed and sobbed about his problems and despair. The shoot-out, [Amy] Ciesla would later conclude, wasn’t without warning... He threatened violence against her and against himself. She tried to withdraw and moved out. He kept calling — again and again... "Why did he say he wanted to kill himself?" the detective asked Amy Ciesla. "Things like I can’t take this anymore, it’s too hard, it’s too much pressure... I think he couldn’t handle his whole life... Honestly, I didn’t even think about calling his work," Ciesla said. "It’s not work related, and maybe he would feel ... more comfortable with" seeing a doctor if the Sheriff’s Office never found out... The only other survivor that day was Thomas Lindner, who leapt out of the line of fire and hid in the kitchen with a bleeding hand until the shooting was over. His wife, Carol, died... "I just jumped up and ... tried to pull my wife with me but she didn’t come," he recalled. "Couldn’t understand why she didn’t come with me."
Troubles preceded killings
Saturday a year since deputy shot family, himself
June 20, 2007
The last six months of Thomas Ciesla’s life hadn’t been the best, and there were signs something even worse was on the horizon... Details of exactly what happened that night at 1021 S.W. 18th Terrace on June 23, 2006, have been unclear until Tuesday, when police released more than 400 pages of investigative reports to The News-Press... Amy Ciesla drove home from work about 9 p.m., talking on the phone to her pregnant friend about an upcoming baby shower. She pulled in the driveway and stayed in the car to talk. Then she saw her estranged husband’s truck in her mirror. "She was like, 'Oh man, Tom’s here,'" her friend Rosanna Fischetti told police. "Kinda like, 'I have to deal with this'"... Amy said she hung up the phone and started to tell her husband to leave, but he shoved a gun into her neck and forced her up the driveway, the report said. With her cell phone still in her hand, she silently dialed 911. Once in the house, both Amy and her surviving uncle, Thomas Lindner, told police Thomas Ciesla ordered everyone into the living room, where he began to rant. "He did tell me he wanted me to suffer like he did," Amy told police. "I’m guessing now that he meant he wanted me to suffer emotionally by killing my family"... In the months leading up to the murders, Thomas Ciesla’s marriage was falling apart, his family wasn’t speaking to him, he had trouble making friends and he was turned down for his dream job, the report said... He attempted suicide at least four times that Amy knew about. She told detective Christy Ellis she once hid his gun from him. Another time, she said he told her he had thoughts of driving into oncoming traffic and dreams in which he killed her. He had "emotional breakdowns," she said, where he would collapse into her arms in tears. Finally, she said if he didn’t get counseling, she would divorce him. He moved into a Fort Myers apartment. When he didn’t seek help, she filed for divorce, which would have been finalized a week after June 23.
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