Family of Army veteran killed at MacDill Air Force Base gate speaks out

5:01 PM, May 20, 2010   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida --  The Army vet shot dead by an FBI agent after authorities say he charged at the agent with a knife, suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome, his uncle told 10 Connects.

"We're all devastated and baffled," Phil Sullivan said of the death of his nephew, 61-year-old Ronald Bullock.

It all started after FBI investigators say Bullock got into an altercation at the FAMCAMP on the base.  When authorities arrived on scene, he then took off on his motorcycle, heading toward the main gate at South Dale Mabry.

Photo Gallery: Shooting at MacDill Air Force Base

This is around the same time the FBI agent -- who works as a liaison between the military and FBI -- was leaving.

When the base was put on lockdown, the FBI says their agent stayed at the gate to help.

For some unknown reason, investigators say when Bullock got up to the front gate, he got off his motorcycle and charged at the agent with a knife.

This is when the agent fired his gun at Bullock, killing him.

The FBI's Shooting Incident Response Team is in Tampa to look into what led up to the shooting and whether the agent was justified in using deadly force.  It's expected to take two weeks and is routine anytime an agent is involved in a shooting.

"If I could find out what the altercation was at the campground, maybe I could make some sense out of what happened," Sullivan told 10 Connects.

He described his nephew as happy go-lucky and while he battled post-traumatic stress syndrome from his service in Vietnam, Sullivan says Bullock's behavior on Wednesday night seems out of the ordinary.

"The whole thing, I can't explain it, can't explain it," Sullivan said, "He's just a fisherman, he's a fishing fool, loves to ride his bike, his motorcycle, doesn't drink or smoke... for the last 10 to 12 years, that is."

Bullock has an arrest history in Texas, including aggravated assault against a peace officer.  He served four years probation according to Texas records.

Since then, Sullivan says Bullock lived between Texas, Massachusetts and Tampa.

"Once he got to MacDill and Tampa, he liked it so much he just stayed," he explained.

Sullivan says Bullock had been living at the FAMCAMP off an on for about six years.  During the off months, he would stay with Sullivan at his South Tampa home.

"We had great bundles of laughs," said Sullivan.

Sullivan says Bullock's mother and brother were due to come into town on Friday for a visit.

"That was the big plan," said Sullivan, "He was all set to greet them.  He knew where he was going to take them to eat... Now it's death and devastation." 

Laura Kadechka, 10 Connects

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