... :evil: ...Roughly three hours before they died, Tiffany Barwick and Michael Ruschak asked Seminole County deputy sheriffs for protection from the man they feared would kill them.
Andrew Allred, Barwick's former boyfriend, had raided her bank account, tampered with her MySpace page and sent phony messages to her family and friends, she told deputies. He e-mailed Ruschak saying, "The next time I see you, I'm going to kill you," and sent Barwick an image of herself covered with bullet holes, a report of the meeting states.
A deputy replied that he could do nothing at that time.
Later on Monday night, Allred plowed into Barwick's car outside Ruschak's home in Oviedo, broke in and shot him dead. He then walked into the bathroom, where Barwick was hiding, and shot her.
Acquaintances said he was bitter about his breakup with Barwick, a student at Seminole Community College, and directed his anger at her and Ruschak, a student at the University of Central Florida. The three had been friends, according to these accounts, until Barwick ended her relationship with Allred in August.
Sheriff's records show that Barwick, 19, first called deputies at 11:30 a.m. Monday alleging that Allred had tapped into her Bank of America account and withdrawn money without her permission.
At 7:09 p.m. she told another deputy that Allred just sent Ruschak, 22, a message threatening his life and that he had recently purchased a gun. She pleaded with the deputy to "lock him [Allred] up."
Sheriff's officials defended the agency's handling of the plea for help, recounted in a four-page report released Wednesday. The deputy who responded to Barwick and Ruschak's complaints did "the best he could," Chief Deputy Steven Harriett said.
Friends and family had mixed reactions on the events that led to Monday's shooting.
"My opinion is that if you get a restraining order, it is just a piece of paper," said Ruschak's mother, Janice. "I know police are doing their best, and I don't want to blame them."
Even if Barwick had sought a protective order against Allred, the forms must be filed at the Seminole County Courthouse, then sent to a judge and finally the Sheriff's Office.
Court officials said the process could take a day or two.
Wick said she doubted it would have helped.
"Allred would not have been served the order in time and, even if he was, who knows if that would have stopped him?" Wick said. "Sometimes there's nothing you can do about it."