A high school history teacher in Florida died by suicide the day after he was arrested for allegedly soliciting nude photos from minors online, numerous sources reported Monday.
Anthony Peace, 37, shot himself with a shotgun Thursday, the same day he was released from Hillsborough County Jail following a child predator sting, the medical examiner’s office said, according to WFLA.
A Hillsborough high school teacher died by suicide just one day after deputies say he was arrested for soliciting nude photos from minors, the medical examiner’s office confirms. https://t.co/kOZzGXdWi4
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) May 24, 2021
The day before his death, Peace was arrested at Strawberry Crest High School, where he worked, after investigators say Peace allegedly solicited explicit photos online from an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old boy as part of an investigation targeting individuals preying on minors for sex, MEAWW reported. Peace also allegedly sent the undercover officer explicit videos of himself.
Peace was charged with several felonies, including transmission of harmful material to minors, use of a two-way communications device, and use of computer services or devices to solicit certain illegal acts, according to MEAWW.
Peace was terminated from the Hillsborough Public Schools District after his arrest. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Peace was last seen alive by his mother. A doorbell monitor app captured him walking outside his home with a shotgun. Police and fire-rescue crews reportedly arrived after 911 was called and found Peace dead in a field.
Peace had been with the district since 2006, starting as an agribusiness teacher at a different district high school before switching to Strawberry Crest to teach history and coach wrestling, according to MEAWW.
Peace lost his wrestling coach position after the school was notified of an investigation into Pearce in 2012 involving allegations that he had “interacted inappropriately” with an unknown individual who was not a student at the district, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Although the case was closed by the sheriff’s office due to lack of evidence, the school’s investigation reportedly raised concerns about his conduct and he was removed from his wrestling coach position. (RELATED: Substitute Teacher Arrested For ‘Sextortion’ Allegedly Pretended To Be A Girl To Solicit Child Porn From 15-Year-Old Boy)
Peace allegedly told investigators he would regularly “bring students to his home to spend the night, and that it was common practice among coaches in the district,” school officials learned, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
A student was also reportedly living with Peace several days a week while attending Strawberry Crest High School. The behaviors violated school policy, although the district recognized there was no finding at the time of inappropriate interactions.