Update: Police officer killed in crash was 34-year-old man with 4 years on Tallahassee force, union says
An on-duty Tallahassee Police Department officer was killed when his patrol vehicle collided with a car driven by an attempted homicide suspect fleeing the police at around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The officer has been identified by the Florida Police Benevolent Association Big Bend chapter as a 34-year-old man who had been on the Tallahassee police force for four years. He previously had served at Wilton Manors Police Department in Broward County, according to a statement by Richard Murphy, president of the chapter, which represents nearly 500 law enforcement officers.
Officer identified: TPD officer killed in head-on crash with fleeing suspect was an FSU grad
"This tragic loss is a painful reminder that law enforcement officers are often victims of violent criminal acts and they put their lives at risk on a daily basis to serve and protect others," Murphy said.
"All of us at the PBA extend our deepest condolences to the officer's family, friends, and fellow officers. We will do all that we can to support them during this painful time."
At the request of the family, the PBA is not releasing the name of the officer, a spokesperson said.
Fallen officers: Tallahassee Police Department honors 'fallen law enforcement heroes' at solemn ceremony
The wreck occurred at the intersection of Capital Circle Northwest and Northwest Passage Boulevard, said TPD Deputy Chief Jason Laursen at a 6:30 a.m. press conference.
The chain of events that led to the crash began around 12:30 a.m. when Leon County Sheriff's deputies responded to 911 call reporting an assault at a home in the 4200 block of Saplin Court, Sheriff Walt McNeil said at an 8:30 a.m. press conference.
The suspect, 37-year-old Tyrone Cleveland, entered the home where he lives and shot three family members, McNeil said. Two of them received non-life-threatening injuries, the other is in stable condition.
An LCSO deputy responding to the 911 call saw Cleveland's vehicle at the intersection of North Monroe Street and Capital Circle Northwest and a chase ensued.
"The suspect then turned his vehicle around and began traveling toward oncoming traffic, colliding with the TPD officer's vehicle," Laursen said at the second press conference.
The officer was rushed to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.
Cleveland suffered non-life-threatening injuries and, after a brief hospitalization, he was booked in the Leon County Detention Facility without bail.
He faces three counts of premeditated attempted murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a weapon or ammunition by a convicted felon, according to the booking report.
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'Unprecedented times': Tallahassee Police Department honors 'fallen law enforcement heroes' at solemn ceremony
Wednesday's press conferences, held just two hours apart, featured calls for prayers from local law enforcement and community leaders.
"First, let me offer condolences to my TPD family and the family of the fallen officer," said McNeil at the start of the second press conference. "We grieve with you and our prayers are with the family and with TPD."
Mayor John Dailey, who attended both press conferences, said, "Today, we lost a hero."
"I want to make sure the officer's services and sacrifice will never be forgotten," he added. "Let's remember that every day when they get up, they put on the uniform to serve and protect us. Some of them make the ultimate sacrifice, which was made this morning."
Later Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Ron DeSantis released a statement on social media saying he and his wife were praying for the family of the officer and "The criminal will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
TPD officers killed in the line of duty
Officer Warren T. Gay, killed June 8, 1981. Sergeant Gay was killed as the result of a motorcycle accident while providing an escort for a Space Shuttle crew visiting the Tallahassee area. Another officer on the escort collided with him, causing injuries
which proved to be fatal.
Officer Ernest Ponce de Leon, killed July 8, 1988. Ponce de Leon was killed while assisting another officer with a suspicious vehicle call. The occupants of the vehicle included escapees from the Maryland Department of Corrections, two of whom pulled out handguns and opened fire, striking Officer Ponce de Leon. All of the suspects were apprehended.
School crossing Guard Ruby R. Rouden, killed Nov. 2, 1990. Radney was assisting children at Orange Avenue and Meridian Road when she was struck by a car that had sideswiped another vehicle. She died as a result of her injuries.
Sgt. Dale Green, killed Nov. 13, 2002: Sergeant Green was ambushed at the scene of a reported home invasion robbery. Upon his arrival, he radioed in a description of a suspicious car and shortly thereafter was shot and killed by the suspect. The suspect fled in the car but was arrested after a long chase and shootout.
Officer Michael P. Saunders, killed Dec. 12, 2009. While on an early morning walk prior to his work shift, Saunders was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. Tallahassee Police responded to the scene not knowing Saunders was the victim. Investigation soon led to the driver’s apprehension.
Officer Clifford D. Crouch, died Sept. 11, 2021. Officer Clifford Crouch died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty. Officer Crouch had served with the Tallahassee Police Department for six years and had previously served with the Baton Rouge Police Department for six years.
Contact Christopher Cann at email@example.com and follow @ChrisCannFL on Twitter.
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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Update: Police officer killed in crash was 34-year-old man with 4 years on Tallahassee force, union says