IN MEMORIAM: Palm Bay Police Officers Ronald Grogan and Gerald Johnson Killed 31 Years Ago
By Space Coast Daily // April 22, 2018
wreath will be walked from the Palm Bay Police Department to Sacrifice Park on Monday
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – Monday, April 23, 2018, marks 31 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.
Members of the Palm Bay Police Department visit Sacrifice Park each year to pay their respects and place a wreath in front of the pyramid monument that bears the names of Officers Johnson and Grogan in addition to all officers from Brevard County that were killed in the line of duty.
The wreath will be walked from the Police Department to the Park on Monday, April 23, 2018 at 11:00 am.
Once the wreath is placed, a prayer and a moment of silence will recognize the officer’s sacrifice. Anyone who would like to attend this public recognition is welcome.
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 at two Palm Bay plazas 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 that night and 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 was survived by his wife.
Officer Johnson had served with the agency for one year. He was survived by his wife, then 9-year-old son, his parents, a brother and a sister.
“It’s important for us to remember these officers for what they did for our community,” said Palm Bay Police officials.
“They paid the ultimate price and by doing so they likely saved countless lives that day. We will always remember them.
“We are forever in debt to the ultimate sacrifice that Officer Ron Grogan and Gerry Johnson made in protecting our community.”
ABOVE MAP: A wreath will be walked from the Palm Bay Police Department to Sacrifice Park on Monday, April 23 at 11 p.m.
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