SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The body of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who was killed in the line of duty traveled to Sarasota Friday morning.
Trooper Joseph Bullock was supposed to be escorted by a small contingent of patrol vehicles from the St. Lucie County Medical Examiner’s Office to the area of Fruitville and Honore Avenue in Sarasota, where Florida Highway Patrol says he has immediate family. But by the time the procession arrived, the number of patrol vehicles had increased to dozens.
The escort left around 10am, traveling along Rt-70, to Rt-72, to I-75 and finally ending their journey near Fruitville and Honore shortly after noon. But around 3pm, some travelers may have noticed a second procession along State Road 70 in Manatee County. Florida Highway Patrol tells ABC7 that Trooper Bullock’s body needed to be moved to a different funeral home.
Trooper Bullock was killed Wednesday near Palm City, which is around 45 minute north of West Palm Beach. The 42-year-old had stopped to help a stranded motorist, 30-year-old Franklin Reed III, when Reed pulled out a gun, shooting and killing him. A passing Riviera Beach police officer then shot Reed, killing him.
Dozens of law enforcement officers paying their respects to the fallen hero.
“Kind of makes you lose faith in humanity. The officer was just trying to help somebody, and he was murdered. It’s just sad like why would somebody do that,” a teenager watching the procession on Friday morning in Sarasota, Christian Pangallo.
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Bullock served nearly two decades on the force... he was also an Air Force veteran.
“This was a man that wanted to become a Florida state trooper. He just wanted to help people. Truly it was service. He grew up wanting to be one and he served his country in a multitude of ways,” said FHP Trooper Kenn Watson.
While law enforcement mourns... “I needed to be here,” said Sarasota resident Brenda Parker.
The community and the state are also feeling the heartache.
“Respect for everyone in that procession and that man that gave his life.... We got boys that age,” said Sarasota resident at the procession, Larry Brown.
They say the troopers murder is senseless.
“It’s not the nature of life to lose a child so our hearts go out,” said Brown. Hands over their hearts... paying respects for the murdered trooper.
Bullocks taken to Sarasota Friday morning but half way through the afternoon FHP needed to move Bullocks body to a different location of the funeral home in Manatee County.
A memorial for Trooper Bullock will be held next week.
He will be laid to rest at the National Cemetery in Sarasota.
Reed’s family expressed condolences to Trooper Bullock’s survivors, but say they do not believe that Reed would have randomly shot someone, arguing Reed had a concealed weapons permit, no criminal record and no history of mental illness. They want to see dash cam video to understand what led to Wednesday’s shootout on I-95 as cars whizzed past.
Trooper Bullock, an Air Force veteran, was a 19-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol and was assigned to Troop L - Fort Pierce for his entire career.
Memorial service arrangements are still being finalized.