STUART, Fla. - The fatal shooting of St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Gary Morales is shining new light on the dangers of 'routine' traffic stops.
As law enforcement officers across south Florida deal with the loss of one of their own, some say that it is a stark reminder that traffic stops are rarely 'routine'.
For Martin County Sheriff's Office Deputy Alan Shevak, Thursday evening was not a 'routine' night of work - and there was no way it could have been.
"Just goes to show you how quick a good thing can turn bad," said Shevak, who was patrolling the streets of Stuart just hours after Sgt. Morales was shot and killed in the line of duty in Fort Pierce.
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara talked about the scenario leading up to the shooting.
"Just what we would call a regular traffic stop," said Mascara. "Nothing out of the ordinary. These guys do it a million times a day," he said. Investigators say Eriese Tisdale, 25, opened fire on Sgt. Morales after the 13 year sheriff's office veteran pulled Tisdale over.
Deputy Shevak said the shooting was a heartbreaking example that no matter how prepared a member of law enforcement may be, they never know what they are going to encounter when they approach a vehicle.
"To say 'routine' is absolutely disturbing because there's nothing routine about this job," he said.
Shevak has been caught off-guard before. He recently made a traffic stop and says underneath the front seat next to the driver was a stolen loaded handgun. The situation went from 'routine' to frightening in a split-second. Shevak says the potential for violence is there with every traffic stop.
"It's a wake up call as to really how dangerous this occupation is," he said.
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