Palm Bay Police Remember Two Police Officers Killed In The Line Of Duty 30 Years Ago
By Zach Clark // April 20, 2017
Public Recognition Set Friday, April 21 at 1 p.m
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – In remembrance of two Palm Bay Police Officers that were killed in the line of duty 30 years ago during a shooting rampage, the Palm Bay Police Department will be placing a wreath in honor of their memory at The Officer Memorial located at Sacrifice Park in Palm Bay Friday afternoon.
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 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 was survived by his wife. Officer Johnson had served with the agency for 1 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,” Chief Renkens said.
“They paid the ultimate price and by doing so they likely saved countless lives that day. We will always remember them.”
A wreath will be walked from the Police Department to Sacrifice Park on Friday, April 21 at 1 p.m.
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.
“We are forever in debt to the ultimate sacrifice that Officer Ron Grogan and Gerry Johnson made in protecting our community,” said Chief Mark Renkens.
ABOVE MAP: A wreath will be walked from the Police Department to Sacrifice Park on Friday, April 21 at 1 p.m.