STUART, Fla. – A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was shot and killed Wednesday morning along Interstate 95 while assisting a disabled vehicle.
Trooper Joseph Bullock, a 19-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol, was “fatally wounded in the line of duty while assisting the public on I-95 in Martin County,” the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday afternoon.
Bullock was an Air Force veteran.
FHP Director Col. Gene Spaulding said during a news conference Wednesday evening a Riviera Beach Police Department officer who was passing by along I-95, approached, shot and killed the individual who shot Bullock.
Law enforcement officials did not identify nor give any information about the person who shot Bullock. Spaulding said it is early in the investigation and the name would be released as soon as possible.
Bullock also mentored younger troopers, Spaulding said.
“It is a tragic, tragic loss,” Spaulding said. “Nineteen years is a testament to his professionalism.”
Dale Howard, who retired in 2017 as a sergeant after more than 24 years with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, recalled working alongside Bullock.
“I can tell you, I always found him very personable, totally professional, compassionate and he was dedicated to the Florida Highway Patrol and to all the citizens of the state of Florida,” Howard said.
Howard, who now lives in Tennessee, said Bullock would help anyone or any law enforcement agency that asked.
“He was just a very personable, very nice guy,” Howard said. “He was dedicated to the Florida Highway Patrol. That was something he totally enjoyed.”
Bullock is survived by his parents and two sisters, Spaulding said.
“It is truly a tragedy,” Spaulding said. “You have to balance that fine line between rendering assistance and protecting yourself.”
The shooting took place at approximately 10:15 a.m. Wednesday just north of the northbound rest area on Interstate 95 near Palm City.
About a 3-mile stretch of I-95 was shut down for several hours after the shooting.
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