MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. – The Martin County Sheriff’s Office held a news conference Friday to provide an update on the investigation into the fatal shooting of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper on Interstate 95.
According to authorities, Trooper Joseph Bullock, 42, stopped to help Franklin Reed III on Feb. 5, whose black Dodge Durango had broken down near a rest stop on Interstate 95, about 30 miles from Palm City.
Police said Reed told Bullock he was fine, so the trooper left.
But Bullock returned to find Reed still stuck there, so he called a tow truck, authorities said.
The tow truck driver told investigators that Reed was upset over having to pay for the towing service and started shooting, but he escaped when Reed’s gun jammed.
Bullock, however, who was sitting in the driver’s seat of his patrol car, was fatally shot.
Authorities said Riviera Beach Police Officer Jemel Headings was off-duty when he pulled over to help Bullock and exchanged gunfire with Reed, shooting the suspect in the chest.
But Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said Reed didn’t die immediately. According to Snyder, Reed turned his gun on himself, taking his own life.
“The off-duty detective’s round hit the suspect in the chest and was a fatal round, not an immediately fatal round. It left Reed enough time to lift the gun up, put the gun to his head and pull the trigger,” Snyder said.
Bullock was a U.S. Air Force veteran and a 19-year FHP veteran. Reed was 28.
“Our hearts and prayers still go out to that family and what they’ve had to endure because of a coward and an evil person,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said.
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.