Inglis residents call Vietnam vet gunned down Thursday a hero

Walter "Buzz" Terhune was trying to protect children at a nearby playground

Walter 'Buzz' Terhune, Facebook photo

INGLIS, Fla. (WFLA) – Residents in the small community of Inglis in Levy County are still coming to grips with the loss of one of their own. Many called 68-year old Walter ‘Buzz’ Terhune a hero.

Terhune, a veteran of the Vietnam War, was shot and killed Thursday night trying to protect children at a nearby playground. “He was just an all-American hero, and this community’s hero right now,” said Lisa Flanders, who owns a local restaurant Terhune frequented. “Because he went out of his way, above and beyond going into something he had no clue about.  It’s just a sad day here.”

Investigators say when the gunfire rang out, Terhune was at a bank across the street, saw the children, and went to the home where the gunfire erupted in hopes of diffusing the situation.

Levy County Sheriff’s Office deputies received multiple 911 calls reporting gunfire in the area. When paramedics first arrived on scene they found 53-year old Otis Bean Jr. suffering from at least one gunshot wound. Not realizing there was still an active shooter in the area, they tended to his wounds and rushed him out of the area.

Once law enforcement officers arrived on scene, they discovered Terhune in another part of the yard, but it was too late. Deputies later heard a single gunshot and then a thump within the home. They then called in the Citrus County SWAT team and entered the home.

Inside the home, officers found 57-year old Walter Tyson, whoshot himself after shooting and killing his wife, Patricia. They identified Tyson as the man who shot Bean and Terhune. Bean is the only survivor.

Helen Ciallella is active in the community and is good friends with Terhune’s companion Rose. Ciallella says the community is in shock.

“Everybody’s in shock. Nobody believes it. Rose thinks he’s going to walk in the door, feels like he’s going to walk into the house any time. It’s very, very sad,” Ciallella said. “It’s very upsetting that the man lost his life being a hero, protecting those kids over there.”

“I respected him. He was a good man. I thought a lot of him because of his community involvement and because he was just a kind guy, a sweet soul. And we’re just all going to miss him,” she added.

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