A former Idaho lawmaker shot and killed himself three months after police launched what appears to be a sexual abuse investigation into the Republican
A family member found Brandon Hixon, 36, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at his Caldwell home on Tuesday, Canyon County Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris said.
Hixon was serving his third term when he resigned from the state House of Representatives on Oct. 19, two weeks after police launched a criminal investigation into allegations of possible sexual abuse.
Records obtained by The Associated Press show that he was previously the focus of a separate police investigation in 2014 after being accused of inappropriate touching.
At the time, Hixon denied the accusations and told police he was worried they would harm his political career. Charges were never brought against Hixon because the alleged victim was not able to provide enough details, according to the Idaho Statesman.
It’s unknown if the new investigation was connected to the earlier case and the attorney general’s office declined to comment Tuesday.
Hixon’s death comes one month after Dan Johnson, a Kentucky state representative, shot and killed himself amid accusations he molested a 17-year-old girl during a sleepover in 2013.
The deaths of both Hixon and Johnson come at a time when politicians as well as powerful figures in media, business and entertainment have been fired or forced to resign in the face of sexual misconduct allegations.
Hixon became one of the youngest lawmakers to win a seat in the Idaho House of Representatives when he was elected in 2012.
“I hope that my efforts have helped improve the lives of my constituents in District 10, as well as all Idahoans,” Hixon wrote when he abruptly resigned from his post. “I will never forget all of my colleagues that I very much enjoyed working side by side with to make Idaho a better place for all.”
After stepping down, Hixon was arrested twice for drunken driving and was charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest last month.
Hixon, who got a divorce from his wife in 2016, is survived by his four children, ages 6 to 17.
Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke announced the news of Hixon’s suicide to lawmakers during Tuesday’s floor session and said the House will likely organize financial help for his family.
Republican state Rep. Bryan Zollinger tweeted his condolences, writing, “I wish I had followed the promptings I received and called with words of kindness and encouragement. Reminder to us all to love one another despite differences of opinion.”
“I didn’t always agree with Rep. Hixon, but I could work with and talk to him,” Democratic state Rep. John McCrostie said in a tweet. “Hope you find some peace, Brandon. Condolences and prayers to his family including his children.”
Idaho state lawmakers underwent sexual harassment training on Tuesday after a representative launched a letter cosigned by more than a dozen other politicians requesting it be mandatory.
With News Wire Services