Former City Police Officer Billy Chase, Ex-Girlfriend In Critical Condition Following Attempted Murder-Suicide

Chased cover
Jacket cover of Billy Chase book

Who knows what’s in the heart and head of someone that makes them snap to attempt the life of another and their own. Billy Chase, a retired Bridgeport police officer whose life I chronicled in the book Chased: Alone, Black, And Undercover, is extraordinarily complex, giving, yet paranoid, in some ways tortured from the professional life he led as a deep undercover, and so challenged to carry on domestic relationships. He and his former girlfriend are clinging to life in a Jacksonville Florida hospital after Chased allegedly shot her in the head late Thursday afternoon after she left work, according to police, and then shot himself in the head.

Lynn Herriott.
Lynn Herriott.

The shooting victim Lynn Herriott had a protective order against Chase who had been charged in a domestic violence assault in February. I had not spoken to Chase about that domestic violence incident but learned about it when Chase had sought bail assistance. Friday afternoon I was alerted to the shooting incident by sources within the Bridgeport Police Department.

According to news reports, Herriott was shot after 5 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot of her workplace. Chase was apparently waiting for her to get off work and shot her six times in her vehicle before turning the gun on himself. Police found two ammunition clips in Chase’s possession. They were transported to a hospital in Jacksonville. See Jacksonville news report here.

From  News 4 Jax:

The woman shot in the head as she was getting into her car leaving her Southbank workplace late Thursday afternoon had a restraining order out against the man believed to have shot her. That man, an ex-police officer from Connecticut, then shot himself.

Both the victim and suspect remain in critical condition at UF Health.

Late Friday, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as Lynn Herriott and the gunman as William Chase Jr., but released no additional information on the double shooting.

Clay County court records show Herriott had sought restraining orders against her one-time fiancé, Dexter Levin, three times over incidents of domestic violence. Jacksonville police said Chase also carried identification as Levin, with the same date of birth.

Chase, 58 years old, retired from the Bridgeport Police Department in 1992, following a short, dizzying law enforcement life ended by a series of death threats from his work as an undercover agent. He was raised in Bridgeport, played basketball at Central High School, attended Sacred Heart University and entered law enforcement as a state corrections officer before hired by the town of Monroe as the first black officer in the department in 1983. Chased joined the Bridgeport department in the mid 1980s. In a short time he was assigned to a special unit working undercover operations for state and federal law enforcement agencies, infiltrating major drug operations as the city experienced record violent crime. One major drug gang Chase infiltrated was the Number One Family that had terrorized the West End of the city.

As a deep undercover Chase had assumed many aliases and as described in his book he often lost touch with his true identity causing rifts in his marriages. Battered emotionally from deep undercover work and physically from fights with crackheads, he was forced to retire at age 32. He relocated to Florida living on a small pension and tried to move on. In the years after, he battled the demons from his work and limited his friendships. One friendship he continued was with retired city officer Ron Bailey who was a key contributor to Chase’s life story.

Friday night an emotional Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez who served in the department with Chase reflected on his work.

“This situation is so tragic. Billy was an outstanding officer. He served the department with distinction. He gave it his all for the betterment of the people. The threats on his life were very real. I pray for him and his family and remain hopeful. He lost who he was and his identity and even he could not explain it.”

Chase talked about the rigors of the job in his book that was published in 1994.

“I wanted to make a mark, to contribute to society, to help people. The work I did was the ultimate work I could do and I’m very glad I had the opportunity, although sometimes I feel like I was a government experiment, a test tube in a lab, a secret weapon never before launched. We need training programs for undercovers, we need to provide them with stress management so that they can deal with the manipulation, the threats, the everyday dangers of the job.”

In the years that followed Billy Chase often admitted his inability to deal with everyday life. He has two grown sons in addition to a five-year-old boy.

And now he and the woman police say he shot cling to life in a hospital.



  1. Guns in trained hands pledged to protect or in the hands of a variety of others with varied purposes are killing instruments that can bring about violent and tragic results. I have read CHASED and found it as compelling a narrative as many fictional stories offered to readers. Billy Chase comes through as a complex individual forced to live on “the razor’s edge” of different realities for too long. His duty differed from maintaining files or monitoring traffic or sewer line installation. Prayers for the woman whose last defense was a restraining order that did not work as well as for Billy Chase himself. Their stories are in other hands at this time. Healing peace. Time will tell.

  2. BOE SPY, do you think this man should have had a gun? I’m sure her children would say no. I know if he were hell bent on harming her he could have used a knife or any other means, it’s not an absolute. She should have had a gun to protect herself and her family. This is why nobody is going to take the Second Amendment privilege away. However no common citizen will ever use an AR-15 assault rifle in a situation of self-defense. Maybe in a home invasion if you’re able to get to it but most likely you’ll need your gun at the ready, when you find yourself an such a situation where a gun is needed as a means of defense? This woman had a restraining order against him. However it is only a piece of paper, like the Constitution. We talked about domestic violence and percentage rate. I don’t know but I will bet law enforcement families have a high rate of domestic violence. Most high-stress occupations do. A lot of the time it’s what drives this type of behavior. When you have deal with violence you have to be violent. I was going to get into a corrosive element driving domestic violence but they know the cancer in their culture that’s driving it, and they know the treatments.

  3. I went to school with Billy (Tech and Central). He was a pretty good ballplayer then, and ran into him a few times when I came home from the Navy, he always seemed the same towards me. I was surprised to say the least when I first heard of his undercover work.

  4. I knew Billy really well before he became a police officer. Our parents were real good friends and they would come over to visit along with Billy and his two sisters and brother. Billy was one of the nicest young men I knew, he was friendly, easygoing and a nice young man. We lost contact after I was in the Air Force.

  5. Here is a man who is lying close to death. My heart cries for him. Here is a soldier against crime, a soldier in the underworld of crime who carried the burden of that undercover life with him into later years. My heart cries for him. He did things in his undercover life that would make most people run the other way yet he stayed and gave himself for us. If he goes, may he go to heaven and may he know peace at last.

  6. I too had the pleasure of knowing Billy Chase and played a lot of basketball with him. He was an outstanding young man and my prayers are with him and his family.

  7. “… Chase allegedly shot her in the head …”
    You make it sound as if the ex-wife shot Billy Chase and then turned the gun on herself. Billy Chase murdered his ex-wife and killed himself. The doctors and medical equipment is delaying the obvious end result. Florida’s justice system failed on the victim and a five-year old is left without his parents. I hope you’re not hoping for a movie deal, Lennie.

  8. I have to agree with Joel’s perspective. Like I said when you don’t know a person who passes on, it’s just one less person in the world. If he just took his own life (I don’t know if he succeeded or not), it would be a different situation than if he’d just tried to take his own life. His demons won but what did they really get? If law enforcement failed him then the demons that reside in it had won but What did they want. There are two sides to everything, you can’t have Heaven without a Hell, each has their own key.

  9. You are correct, Joel. We should not idolize a murderer but by the same token we can all take a closer look at how the system failed everyone. Don’t know what Florida’s laws are but in CT if someone has a restraining order against them they are required to turn in any guns they own.
    I did not know Billy Chase but I had the pleasure of meeting his son William Chase III during some of Ed Gomes’ campaigns. A truly upstanding young gentleman. My heart goes out to all victims of this tragic story.

  10. No. Bobby, Joel and Robert are as wrong as two left shoes. No one has forgotten about the lady who was shot and killed by Billy. We are saying while he served the BPD he served with honor and dignity and because of his service in the BPD, Bridgeport is a better place to live and its residents were safer because of his sacrifices. When he lived in Bridgeport he comforted himself like like a man who always lived his life beyond reproach.

    The three of you should be ashamed of yourselves for trying to devalue the sacrifices and the demons he had to live with because of his dedication to service of Bridgeport and its residents. What he did was very bad, but what he did for Bridgeport should never be forgotten because he sacrificed more than you three could or would in two lifetimes.

  11. Day, to be honest Joel addressed the point that it seems nothing was mentioned about the victim. It’s a tragedy that I like to think is preventable. If his mindset was because of the work he did for Bridgeport as an officer, what does that say about the BPD? Don’t you think the Department should have been there for him? I’m not devaluing anything. I’m valuing it for what I see. Like I said about suicides, from thought to action there’s a lot going on. I’m looking at it with both feet, the good and bad, if anything you’re looking at it with two left feet. We placed more blame on the system than the man. To clarify, my main point was if you don’t know the victims it’s like it’s just one less person in the world. If you would have known the girl you would have mentioned her but you didn’t. I have two points to make. 1. The sacrifice he gave to Bridgeport as a cop shouldn’t be forgotten and what he did to this girl shouldn’t be forgotten either. 2. domestic violence is not just about the physical aspect. It’s the dread that comes when a car pulls up, the key inserted in the lock, not knowing what to expect. It’s a form a torture and that should never be forgotten either. These victims live in hell.

  12. The late Bernie Mac, who was an American stand-up comedian and actor would say he was the type of person who would say things you want to say but you can’t, Billy Chase did what we wanted done but we couldn’t do it. We as a society wanted drugs and drug dealers gone and Billy Chase put his life on the line for us by going undercover to take those dealers and drugs down for us, something we couldn’t and wouldn’t do. This is separate from his crime.

    1. As a society we don’t just want drugs and drug dealers off the street. What about people who beat their wives or kids, thieves, child molesters, etc.? Don’t we want them off the street also?
      Domestic violence is a serious issue especially among law enforcement, it is happening right now. There are many Billys and Herriots out there. Instead of blaming the Devil and praying to God by then it’s too late. I want to know what’s being done to prevent the next Herriot. These victims live in hell. This is an evil. If institutions or society wants to be a conduct of evil and condemned people’s souls there’s nothing I can say. Evil goes to Hell, it’s not that complicated people.

  13. Robert, I read exactly what you said, “I agree with Joel’s perspective which was to question whether Lennie did this story in hopes of a book deal.”

    Let me offer you and Joel a fresh perspective, Lennie did this story to remind Bridgeport of the sacrifices that Billy Chase made in service to this city. Lennie did this story to remind Bridgeport of the failures of the BPD in helping Billy deal with demons he suffered with every day of his life after giving exemplary service to Bridgeport and its residents. Lennie did this story to remind Bridgeport the demons Billy suffered were not only internal, but also external and he had to deal with both on his own because of his sacrifices to Bridgeport and its residents.

    No one is excusing his behavior in the killing of this innocent lady and our prayers are extended to her family, both nuclear and extended. Billy was ridden by the BPD so hard without regard to his future health that Billy did what anyone else or anything else if driven too hard, He Broke Down and maybe, just maybe that’s the story Lennie was attempting to convey to Bridgeport and its residents.

    1. What book deal are you talking about? I didn’t mention any book deal in my view on Joel’s perspective. I echoed what you just said. My perspective on Joel’s comment pertained to the comments section of what was written by Lennie. Up until now she was never mentioned in a sympathetic manner, she wasn’t even acknowledged. However if Joel’s comment was solely based on Lennie’s article, well Joel and Bob’s comments are not off base. If you were her friend or a family member of the victim and you’re reading an article sensationalizing him after he committed this horrible crime, this might seem insensitive.

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