PALM CITY, Fla. – A veteran Florida Highway Patrol trooper who stopped to assist a disabled motorist on Interstate 95 in Martin County on Wednesday was shot and killed by a person who was with that vehicle, according to the FHP.
The Florida Highway Patrol identified the trooper killed as Joseph Bullock, a 19-year veteran who worked his entire career in the Fort Pierce area.
FHP said the 42-year-old trooper stopped at about 10:15 a.m. in the northbound lanes of I-95 near mile marker 107. Within a few minutes, a suspect who was with the disabled vehicle opened fire, killing Bullock.
Authorities said a Riviera Beach police officer who witnessed the shooting engaged the gunman, who was shot and killed moments later. What prompted the initial shooting of the trooper was still unclear.
Bullock, 42, “chose to make selflessly serving and protecting others his life’s work,” the FHP said in a joint statement.
“Trooper Bullock was a leader within the Florida Highway Patrol and his troop,” Col. Gene Spaulding, director of the FHP, said at a late-afternoon news conference. “It not like losing a work partner; it’s like losing a family member."
Bullock was the 49th trooper to die in the line of duty in the 80-year history of the FHP, and the third in the last 12 months.
The Florida Department of Highway Patrol is the lead agency investigating the shootings, assisted by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.
The entire Florida Highway Patrol and FLHSMV family mourns today for the loss of one of our own, FHP Trooper Joseph Bullock. Please keep his family and his team members in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/kQ8zO0mVGF— FLHSMV (@FLHSMV) February 5, 2020
All lanes of I-95 were closed near mile marker 107 between Martin Highway and Kanner Highway until after 5 p.m. while law enforcement investigated the shootings.