Ex-cop shot dead after police say he catfished girl, killed her family | USA TODAY

Authorities in California shot and killed Austin Lee Edwards, a former police officer in Virginia, after he fled with a teen girl he catfished.

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The suspect in a triple homicide who died in a shootout with police Friday in Southern California apparently drove across the country to meet a teen girl he catfished online, before killing three of her family members, police said.

Austin Lee Edwards, 28, also likely set fire to the family’s home in Riverside, California, before leaving with the girl, the Riverside Police Department announced in a news release.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputies killed Edwards, a former police officer, after locating him with the teenager later that day, police said. Edwards, who police said lived in North Chesterfield, Virginia, met the girl online and obtained her personal information by deceiving her with a false identity, known as “catfishing.”

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