Palm Bay Police Honors Fellow Fallen Officers
By Space Coast Daily // April 23, 2014
killed in the line of duty 27 years ago today
BREVRD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – Chief Doug Muldoon and members of the police department honored the memories of two Palm Bay Police officers killed in the line of duty 27 years ago today.
Officers Gerald Johnson and Ronald Grogan were killed by a gunman who went on a shooting rampage that also killed four citizens and wounded 14 others on April 23, 1987.
During a special memorial ceremony held Wednesday morning members of the police department Honor Guard carried wreaths of flowers and placed them at a memorial at Sacrifice Park located across the street from the police department next to the Degroodt Library.
The park features a monument bearing the names of the fallen officers. There is also a monument with the names of the citizens killed during the incident.
During the afternoon hours on April 23, 1987 Officers Johnson and Grogan were the first to respond to reports of a gunman on a shooting rampage at the Winn Dixie shopping plaza on Babcock Street.
The suspect took hostages at the supermarket. As Officer Grogan arrived at the scene, the suspect opened fire on him, killing him before he was able to exit his patrol car.
Officer Johnson was able to exit his vehicle and return fire before being struck in the foot and knocked down. As he was reloading, the suspect approached and shot him at point-blank range. The incident lasted more than eight hours before the suspect was taken into custody.
“That was without a doubt our darkest day as a city,” Chief Doug Muldoon wrote in an e-mail to department employees.
“I would like all of you to reflect on the sacrifices of these two Palm Bay Officers and always remember they gave their lives so many others could escape.”
Years later the suspect was sentenced to death. In 2009, while awaiting his execution, the suspect died in prison from natural causes at the age of 82.
Brevard County law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives to protect us.
Brevard County Heroes are Officer Joseph Pellicano, Melbourne Police Department – 1986, Officer Gerald Johnson, Palm Bay Police Department – 1987, Officer Ronald Grogan, Palm Bay Police Department– 1987, Officer Philip Flagg, Satellite Beach Police Department – 1992, Sergeant Ernest Hartmann, Satellite Beach Police Department – 1992, Officer Stephen House, Titusville Police Department – 1989, Officer Jack Schnell, Titusville Police Department – 1982, Officer George Hanchley, Kennedy Space Center Security Police – 1986, Officer Charles Autry, Cocoa Beach Police Department – 1990, Lieutenant Roy Blake, Cocoa Police Department – 1954, Trooper Halley Strickland, FHP – 1954, Trooper Joseph Sawtell Jr. – 1966, Lieutenant Amos Cox, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office – 1965, Deputy Robert Nicol, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office – 1987, Deputy Ray Warner, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office – 1996, Sergeant Lucille Ross, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office – 2004, and Deputy Barbara Pill –2012.
We honor these Heroes along with their families who will forever be remembered for their sacrifices and support. Each of these officers were proud to put on their uniform each and every day to represent their profession, their families and most importantly their communities.