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Man accused of killing trooper was angry over tow truck payment, authorities say

Dead gunman identified as Franklin Reed III

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. – A tow truck driver in Martin County told investigators that the man who is accused of killing Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Bullock on Wednesday morning was upset over having to pay for the towing service.

Bullock, 42, stopped to help Franklin Reed III, whose black Dodge Durango had broken down near a rest stop on Interstate 95, about 30 miles from Palm City, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.

Trooper Joseph Bullock was killed Wednesday in a shooting at a I-95 rest stop in Martin County.
Trooper Joseph Bullock was killed Wednesday in a shooting at a I-95 rest stop in Martin County.

The tow truck driver, who hasn’t been identified, told investigators he escaped when Reed’s gun jammed. Riviera Beach Police Officer Jemel Headings was off-duty when he saw Bullock was in trouble and pulled over to help him.

The “Riviera Beach police officer, who was passing by, engaged the suspect fatally shooting him," FHP Col. Gene Spaulding said.

DaWayne Watson, a firefighter-paramedic with the Riviera Beach Fire-Rescue Department, was on his way home when he saw Bullock was bleeding. He said he tried to help him, but it was too late.

“I just had to come to grips with [knowing] there was nothing else that I could do,” Watson said.

Bullock was a U.S. Airforce veteran and a 19-year FHP veteran. Reed was 28. Headings, who joined the Riviera Beach Police Department in 2010, remains on administrative leave, as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement leads the investigation into the fatal shooting.

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


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