Palm City, Fla.—A veteran Florida Highway Patrol trooper stopped to do a good deed on Wednesday, but he was instead met with disaster. Joseph Bullock, a 19-year veteran who spent his entire career in the Fort Pierce area stopped to assist a stranded motorist in Martin County on Interstate 95.
The FHP reports that the motorist shot and killed the officer.
It was around 10:15 am on Wednesday when the 42-year-old trooper stopped in the northbound lanes of I-95 near mile marker 107. Within minutes, the motorist opened fire and killed Bullock.
A Riviera Beach police officer witnessed the shooting and opened fire on the gunman, killing him. Reports have not clarified what caused the suspect to start shooting.
Col. Gene Spaulding, director of the FHP said, “Trooper Bullock was a leader within the Florida Highway Patrol and his troop. It’s not like losing a work partner; it’s like losing a family member.”
In the 80-year history of the FHP, Bullock was the 49th trooper to die in the line of duty. He was the third to die in the past 12 months.
In an announcement on Twitter, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Florida Highway Patrol offered condolences:
“Today, the entire Florida Highway Patrol and FLHSMV family is heartbroken as we mourn the tragic loss of Trooper Joseph Bullock…who chose to make selflessly serving and protecting others his life’s work. Please keep his family and his team members in your prayers.”
The announcement also included the following information about the tragic event:
“Trooper Bullock served nearly 19 years with the Florida Highway Patrol…He was also an Air Force veteran.
“Trooper Bullock was fatally wounded today in the line of duty while assisting the public on I-95 in Martin County. The investigation into the incident is ongoing and additional information will be released as it’s available.”