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Deputy dies after medical episode at bar

Posted at 10:03 AM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 10:06:39-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- In a developing story in East Fort Myers, a gathering at the Shores Bar and Grill on Palm Beach Boulevard this week ended with the death of a Lee County Sheriff's deputy.

Sources say 32-year-old Willard Truckenmiller didn't survive an apparent medical episode this week, but exactly what led up to this is still a mystery.

Lee County deputies were very tight lipped and wouldn't release any information Thursday, saying that it is an ongoing investigation. But Fox 4 talked to some of the people who frequent the neighborhood bar and they told me they're surprised to hear the news.

A beloved deputy, a former Marine and a volunteer football coach at Riverdale High School, at only 32 years old, Truckenmiller's death came as a huge shock to many in the community.  He died Wednesday after suffering a medical emergency on Monday at Shores while off-duty.  According to the attorney representing the bar and grill, Truckenmiller was behaving strangely and had to eventually be rushed to a local hospital.

"That does surprise me if he came in, fell ill, went to the hospital and now he's dead a couple days later.  I 'm shocked about that," says customer Reece Turner.  He stops by Shores from time to time for a bite to eat.  "All different kind of folks come in here. There's working class and I hate to say there's probably people that probably not too law abiding citizens either."

Now Lee County Sheriff's investigators are working to find out exactly what happened inside on Monday.

Fox 4 reached out to LCSO email and phone Thursday, but they declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

At this time, the cause of Truckenmiller's death hasn't been released. However, the attorney representing the Shores Bar and Grill tells Fox 4 they are cooperating in this investigation and have released surveillance video.

We will stay on top of this developing story to bring you the very latest.