STUART, Fla. – From Stuart to St. Lucie, law enforcement officers are mourning the loss of a man they remember as reliable and trustworthy: Trooper Joseph Bullock.
“This brotherhood of first responders? We know the pain that that agency is experiencing, that this family is experiencing,” said St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.
“Here’s a guy who stops to help with a stranded motorist. How can routing can that be? That’s the most routine of all that these guys experience.
“He thinks he’s helping this guy, and pays for it with his life. When you talk about the totality of this, what a senseless, senseless murder for a guy who was there trying to help.
Officers say, during his career, Bullock would often serve as a backup officer on any given scene for local officers all over the Treasure Coast.
“There are some officers with the Stuart Police Department who knew him very well,” said Public Information Officer Brian Bossio. “As a matter of fact, one of our officers is a former trooper, and was trained by Trooper Bullock, so there is a very close connection there.
“If there is a fellow officer that needs assistance, it does not matter what agency you are with. You are going to provide that assistance to that officer. We try to take care of each other.”
On Thursday, Martin County Sheriff Office investigators took over the homicide investigation into Trooper Bullock’s death. (Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement is handling the officer-involved shooting part of the investigation.)
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says he was heartbroken to hear the news of Bullock’s death, noting how close some of his deputies were with the trooper.
“When Trooper Bullock was shot, it put a bullet into all of us,” he told Contact 5 Investigator Merris Badcock. “It doesn’t matter what patch is on that uniform sleeve. We are all cops.”
Snyder’s agency identified the suspect responsible for killing Trooper Bullock on Thursday, and Riviera Beach Police identified the officer responsible for shooting and killing the suspect.
Snyder says his team is still looking into why the suspect would do something like this. “We are taking a deep dive now to try and determine what the suspect’s motive was, what his mental condition was, his state of mind. What drove him from being a stranded motorist on the side of the highway to executing a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper?”