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Air Force vet cop murdered by driver of broken down vehicle he tried to help

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Bullock was killed in a shooting incident on I-95 in Martin County, Florida, on Feb. 5, 2020. (Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Florida Highway Patrol/TNS)
February 07, 2020

Florida Highway Patrol trooper Joseph Bullock was fatally shot after he saw attempted to help a vehicle stuck on the side of the road.

Bullock, 42, was an Air Force veteran who had gone on to serve with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) for 19 years, NBC 6 News reported. Bullock attempted to help a disabled vehicle stopped on the side of Interstate 95 on Wednesday when he was fatally shot by the driver, authorities said Thursday.

“Joe was one of the troopers that went out every day, did his job quietly, professionally and with the utmost dedication,” FHP Col. Gene Spaulding said at a news conference Wednesday evening. “It is a tragic, tragic loss.”

Authorities identified Franklin Reed III, 28, of Palm Bay, as the driver and suspect who shot Bullock.

Authorities said Jemel Headings, an off-duty officer for Riviera Beach Police, happened to be passing by the stopped vehicles when the shooting occurred. Headings responded to the incident and fatally shot Reed.

“Over the next few days, our criminal investigations detectives will continue to work closely with the State Attorney’s Office as they question witnesses, and begin the process of seeking and conducting search warrants on the vehicles involved in this homicide, including Trooper Bullock’s patrol car and Reed’s SUV,” Martin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Headings, who has been with Riviera Beach Police since April 2010, was reportedly placed on administrative leave as authorities investigate the initial incident and the events surrounding Headings actions in which he fatally shot Reed.

Bullock’s body was being transported from the Fort Pierce Medical Examiner’s Office to a funeral home in Sarasota on Friday, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office encouraged members of the public to stand along Highway 70 and honor Bullock as he passed.

“On behalf of Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, and all of us at the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, we wish to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of murdered Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Bullock,” the Martin County Sheriff’s said in a Facebook post commemorating Bullock.

“Trooper Bullock, a 19-year veteran of FHP was a highly respected law enforcement officer whose senseless death greatly impacted law enforcement across the state.” the Martin County Sheriff’s Facebook post continued. “This video is the procession of Trooper Bullock’s law enforcement family, escorting his body from the crime scene.”