Suicide victim found in Florence Co. was suspect in Florida shoo - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

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Suicide victim found in Florence Co. was suspect in Florida shooting

Walter Russ. (Source: Highlands County Sheriff's Office) Walter Russ. (Source: Highlands County Sheriff's Office)
Florence County law enforcement investigate a fatal shooting that was reported Monday afternoon. (Source: Audrey Biesk) Florence County law enforcement investigate a fatal shooting that was reported Monday afternoon. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The man whose shooting death in Florence County on Monday was ruled a suicide was wanted for attempted murder for allegedly shooting his girlfriend in Avon Park, Fla., earlier that day.

According to a press release from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, 34-year-old Walter Allen Russ was pronounced dead at the scene near Interstate 95 and S.C. 327 from a gunshot wound and three persons of interest were taken into custody for questioning.

Following interviews with the persons of interest and the receipt of autopsy results, investigators and the coroner ruled the death a suicide, the release stated. Initially, the incident was investigated as an apparent homicide.

“All suspicious deaths are investigated as homicides until that cause can be ruled out,” the release stated.

At about 5:13 a.m., on Monday, Highlands County Sheriff's deputies responded to a home in Avon Park, Fla., in reference to a 911 call stating a woman had been shot, according to a news release from the sheriff's office. The 42-year-old shooting victim was later found at a nearby hospital and taken to a Tampa hospital, where she is in stable but critical condition.

Russ was identified as the suspect in the shooting, and detectives secured an arrest warrant for him charging him with attempted murder in the first degree and possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon, the release states.

The investigation determined that the shooting appeared to be over an argument started by Russ about his break-up with the shooting victim, and what the victim posted on social media.

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