Former local law enforcement family lost to apparent murder-suicide while 6-year-old son witnesses tragedy

A former St Johns County deputy sheriff, 49-year-old Robert Terry, who married and twice divorced, then recently reunited with Sarah Ann Terry-Smith, has reportedly shot, and killed himself after fatally firing on Terry-Smith a reported seventeen times.

Terry-Smith, who was living in Aurora Colorado with her 6-year-old son, celebrated her 40th birthday last month.  She once was a police officer for the City of St Augustine Beach and was currently employed investigating welfare fraud for Colorado’s Arapahoe County.

While living and employed as law enforcement officers in St Augustine, both Terry and Terry-Smith attended the same program at Flagler College as Historic City News editor Michael Gold. They earned undergraduate degrees in Public Administration. Gold recalled that Terry regularly contemplated his plans to leave law enforcement and earn his graduate degree so that he could practice law.

Officers were called to the Terry residence on Friday, July 30, 2021, after Terry and Terry-Smith were engaged in a violent argument.  Terry-Smith tried to leave the residence, strapping their son into his car seat.  Terry emerged from the home and began firing on his soon-to-be, third-time wife.  The couple’s son witnessed the ordeal from the back seat of the car.

Police say that after the 6-year-old boy watched his own father commit suicide, only moments after Terry shot and killed the child’s mother, the boy managed to release himself, escape the car, and cross the street to alert neighbors to the shooting.

Police arrived to find Terry “dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound” just outside the couple’s home.  Terry-Smith was found “suffering from gunshot wounds, nearby.”  She was rushed to a local hospital, where medical staff would declare her dead, as well.

The 6-year-old’s uncle, Terry-Smith’s brother, Alan Smith, said his mission from this point is to ensure that his nephew recovers from the trauma he’s experienced.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or visit All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.