CALDWELL — Former Idaho State Rep. Brandon Hixon killed himself at his house in Caldwell early Tuesday, according to the Canyon County coroner.
Hixon died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris told the Idaho Press-Tribune. He was 36 years old.
Hixon served as a Republican lawmaker in Caldwell’s District 10 before resigning in October. At the time, Hixon’s attorney, Gabe McCarthy, stated that Hixon had not been charged with a crime but was under investigation. Caldwell Police had since turned the investigation over to the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, which did not release details of the investigation.
The Attorney General’s Office had no comment Tuesday on the status of the investigation, spokesman Scott Graf said.
In his resignation letter in October, Hixon said, “I hope that my efforts have helped improve the lives of my constituents in District 10, as well as all Idahoans. 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.”
Rep. Christy Perry told the Idaho Press-Tribune that “with the passing of Representative Hixon, we are reminded once again suicide knows no bounds.”
Perry is a Republican from Nampa’s District 11.
“Please take the time to reach out to those experiencing extreme stress or otherwise vulnerable,” she said. “All life is valuable. My husband and I express our sincere sympathy to his family and those left behind. Please pray for them.”
Unrelated to the criminal investigation, Hixon was arrested twice in December on charges of driving under the influence. The second incident stemmed from the use of a prescription medication, according to a police affidavit.
Hixon was first elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 2012, defeating Democratic challenger and Vallivue teacher Travis Manning, whom he also defeated in 2014. Hixon won again in 2016 against challenger Jeremy Lopett.
“I am truly saddened by the loss of my former political opponent,” Manning tweeted Tuesday.
When Hixon was first elected, he was one of the youngest lawmakers elected to the Idaho House, according to the Associated Press. During the 2017 legislative session, he served on the Business, Health and Welfare, and Transportation and Defense committees. In November, Gov. Butch Otter appointed Jarom Wagoner to replace Hixon in the House after he resigned.
Hixon, a fourth-generation Idahoan, was raised in Salmon, Idaho. He graduated in construction management from Idaho State University and attended Boise State University, according to his introduction at a candidate forum in 2012.
Hixon had four children, according to the Associated Press. He and his wife divorced in 2016, the Idaho courts repository shows.
A family member discovered Hixon’s body Tuesday, the AP reports.
“The House of Representatives was a pretty somber place today,” House Speaker Scott Bedke told the Idaho Press-Tribune Tuesday afternoon. “It is a tragedy, and our hearts go out to his family and friends.”
Bedke announced Hixon’s apparent suicide to House members during Tuesday’s floor session, according to the AP. The House chaplain then led a prayer.
“We should support those who are close to us when they are struggling,” Bedke said during the session. “Please remember Brandon’s family in your prayers.”
Bedke later said the House will likely organize some sort of financial relief for Hixon’s family, but said it was too early to say what exactly was planned, the AP reports.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Rep. Bryan Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls, said, “Very saddened by the about news Rep. Hixon. 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.”