Suspect in US murder of Irishman dies in suicide pact
POLICE in the US investigating the murder of Tipperary-born Tom Walsh believe he was gunned down by a disgruntled former employee he fired two years ago.
Mr Walsh (43) a father of one from Templemore, lost his life in March when he was shot dead as he was closing up the restaurant he managed near Daytona Beach in Florida.
It was initially thought he was killed during a robbery as the night’s profits were taken from the premises, but now police believe that a double suicide last Thursday may hold links to the murder of the popular Tipperary man.
James Seagreaves (29) and his girlfriend Kayla Nemoto (20) died after apparently committing suicide following a shoot out with police.
Seagreaves had been released from jail in early March and is believes to have carried out a spate of armed robberies in Florida in the 29 days after leaving prison, including the one at the Mainstreet Grill where Walsh was murdered.
However, it has now emerged that he was known to Walsh, who had fired him two years ago from the same restaurant and that Seagreaves held a grudge over the incident.
Police went to Seagraves home last Thursday to serve a warrant in connection with Walsh’s murder, but Seagreaves and his 20-year-old girlfriend, who was said to be pregnant with a baby girl, barricaded themselves into their apartment.
After a stand-off of a number of hours where negotiators tried to persuade the couple to surrender, a SWAT team were sent in and discovered the pair dead inside.
Police would not released details of how they met their deaths, but it is believed that they died from gunshot wounds to the head, and that the baby Nemoto was carrying did not survive.
The family of Tom Walsh have demanded to know what background checks were made on Seagreaves before the restaurant hired him.
Brian Walsh told The Irish Sun: “Obviously it turned out he was a very dangerous individual. The job of firing this guy was left to Thomas a couple of years ago.”
He described his brother who emigrated in 1996 as: “living the American dream”.
“He built a great life for himself and this piece of scum took it away,” he said.
Tom Walsh was brought home to Templemore Church for his funeral in April where his 12-year-old daughter Kira led a simple prayer from the altar.
Kira Walsh, asked for support for herself and her family during the difficult days ahead.
Kira and her mother were joined by up to 1,000 mourners at Templemore Church, Co Tipperary, where leaflets filled with poems and memories of Mr Walsh - known to his friends in America as "Irish Tom" - were handed out to the congregation.
Mr Walsh's godchild and niece Emer told of her "special bond" with her uncle, recalling how she spent time with him last summer when he visited Templemore with Kira.
She also described how her uncle had paintings, photographs and books of Ireland in his home in the US and how he listened to the late Gerry Ryan online.
Mr Walsh's sister, Helen, described the killing as "senseless".
"But there's no going back. Tom had a good life, he had a great sense of fun," she said.
She said her brother was adored by his mother.
"He was a regular Irish guy who went to the States and made good but my mum would say he was a cut above a regular guy."