VIDEO: Palm Bay Remembers Fallen Officers On Anniversary of Deaths
By Yvonne Martinez, City of Palm Bay // April 24, 2015
Honoring Gerald Johnson, Ronald Grogan
ABOVE VIDEO: Interim Chief Mark Renkens and members of the department paused to pay tribute to two fallen officers Thursday.
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA — Interim Palm Bay Chief Mark Renkens and members of the department paused to pay tribute to two fallen officers Thursday.
April 23 marks 28-years since Officer Gerald Johnson and Officer Ronald Grogan were killed in the line of duty while responding to an active shooter.
The gunman also killed four citizens and wounded more than a dozen others before he was taken into custody.
During the brief ceremony Chief Renkens and Detective Steve Hill placed two wreaths at the front of a monument at Sacrifice Park.
The monument bears the names of Officers Johnson and Grogan in addition to all officers from Brevard County that were killed in the line of duty.
“It’s important for us to remember these officers for what they did for our community,” Chief Renkens said.
“They paid the ultimate price and by doing so they likely saved countless lives that day. We will always remember them.”
Officer Gerald Johnson and Officer Ronald Grogan were shot and killed on April 23, 1987 while responding to the scene of a mass shooting during which a man had gone on a shooting spree with a Ruger Mini 14 rifle, killing four civilians and wounding another 14.
The suspect took hostages at a supermarket and as the officers arrived he opened fire on them, killing Officer Grogan 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 him and shot him at point-blank range. The suspect was captured later in the night.
He was convicted of the murders and was subsequently sentenced to death.
While awaiting his execution he died of natural causes at age 82 on November 29, 2009.
Officer Grogan had served with the Palm Bay Police Department for six months.
He is survived by his wife. Officer Johnson had served with the agency for 1 year.
He was survived by his wife, a 9 year-old son, his parents, a brother, and a sister.