It was a packed house at Bayside Community Church for Thursday's memorial service to remember Trooper Joseph Bullock.
“Since Bullock’s death, these last eight days have been the most difficult days,” said Florida Highway Patrol Troop Commander Major Robert Chandler. “Thank you everyone, without your support it would be hard to put on this uniform today.”
It was an emotional service as each person spoke at the podium.
“Being a peacemaker was his calling. There’s no more noble position than that,” Congressman Brian Mast said. “He knew the risks but still he went on watch every single day.”
Bullock always wanted to be a cop like his father, and he was living out his dream as a Florida Highway Trooper.
Bullock’s Colonel Gene Spaulding couldn’t hold back the tears as he challenged those in the pews to emulate Trooper Bullock.
“You were the trooper we should all strive to be,” Colonel Spaulding said.
By the turnout, you could tell what an impact Trooper Bullock had on the community he spent the last 19 years of his career in -- Fort Pierce.
“I can tell you the Treasure Coast is a better place because of Joe,” Lt. Derrick Rahming said. “Most of the people that are working on the treasure coast and the outlying areas, and the counties around it Joe trained most of them, for almost 2 decades.”
Lt. Rahming was Trooper Bullock’s former zone partner.
“It was an overwhelming experience to know Joe,” Rahming said. “Joe was one of those people that when you met him you instantly loved Joe.”
Rahming said Bullock would never let another Trooper go to a call alone.
“Joe would not go home until he was comfortable knowing that you were able to handle that call,” Rahming said.
Many considered Bullock a leader, friend, and family.
“When Joe talked, it meant something,” Rahming said. “Joe didn’t just open his mouth and say words. When it came out it meant something.”
Many are trying to make sense of this senseless crime, calling Bullock’s death as an unforeseen tragedy.
“Our destiny is our own choosing and that is to protect and serve. Trooper Joseph Bullock chose that destiny,” said Martin County Sheriff Bill Snyder.
“You do it because you know you are making a difference and you do it because you are a family,” Rep. Mast said. “As close as any of blood and you commit to the world the most significant thing you can, yourself, your life.”
Trooper Bullock is the first known law enforcement officer to lose his life in Martin County.
“On behalf of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office I’d like to send my deepest condolences,” Sheriff Snyder said. “The bullet that struck Trooper Bullock struck each of us.”
Bullock was killed Feb. 5 on I-95 in Martin County while trying to help a driver stuck on the side of the road. According to investigators, Bullock was shot and killed by that driver, who was later killed by another officer. The driver was later identified as 30-year-old Franklin Reed III.
Major Chandler introduced off-duty Riviera Beach Police Officer Jemel Headings, who shot and killed Reed.
“That suspect that murdered Trooper Bullock couldn’t hurt anyone else because of this detective.”
Major Chandler said Bullock loved working the road and chose not to move up in the ranks. Instead, he continued to mentor and train new incoming troopers. One even became his zone partner and friend.
Michael Corton said Bullock was his go-to guy and best friend for 16 years.
“With Joe, my six was always covered,” Corton said. “I hope I make him proud every day.”
Choked up, Corton turns to Bullock’s family.
“I was always looking forward to meeting his family, but not this way. All I can say now is thank you Mr. and Mrs. Bullock for my brother from another mother.”
During the service, many were able to tell stories and say their final goodbyes to a man who will forever be remembered.
“So, goodbye Trooper Bullock,” Corton said. “And if heaven’s streets are truly guarded by U.S. Marines, please find one and take him under your wing like you did me.”
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