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Florida Trooper Joseph Bullock's body escorted with honor to Sarasota

Staff Writer
Walton Sun
Walton Sun

The sky was dark in Sarasota as more than 100 law enforcement vehicles escorted the body of slain Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Bullock to Robert Toale and Sons Funeral Home at Palms Memorial Park.

Bullock, 42, was shot and killed on Interstate 95 Wednesday after he stopped to help a disabled driver about about 10:15 a.m. at Mile Marker 105, between High Meadow Road in Palm City and Martin Highway.

“Whenever you put on this uniform and go out every day, chances are you’re not coming back,” said FHP Trooper Kenneth Watson. “Whether you wear black and tan for a living or you wear blue or you wear sheriff’s office green, we’re all together.”

Martin County Sheriff’s Office stated Thursday evening the suspected shooter was Franklin Reed III, of Palm Bay. An off-duty Riviera Beach police officer in the area shot and killed Reed, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

“It’s difficult times when you bury one of your own,” Watson said. “This is us bringing our fallen brother home.”

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office stated the public was “encouraged to stand along Highway 70 with us to honor this hero.”

Charlene Eighmy, who said she lost a family member in law enforcement, came out to pay respects Friday after hearing about Bullock’s procession in the news.

“We came to show our respects,” said Brenda Parker, who read the news on Facebook. “It’s the appropriate thing to do.”

About a dozen civilians stood by as the law enforcement vehicles brought Bullock’s body to the funeral home. There were hundreds along the route.

“It’s a great feeling to know that so many folks do support us,” Watson said. “We appreciate everyone who came out, including the civilians who came out to show their appreciation for this fallen trooper.”

Many of the troopers in the procession attended basic training with Bullock.

“This is so tough on them right now, especially the (troopers) that you see coming here because they worked with him, a lot of them did,” said Lt. Gregory Bueno, an FHP spokesman. “He's been on for 19 years. It's just tough times.”

When the FHP is involved in a critical incident, the investigation is led by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The case is still active.

Bullock’s family lives in Englewood. They declined to comment, according to FHP.

Bullock‘s funeral will be late next week in Sarasota.

This story originally published to heraldtribune.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.