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Slain FHP trooper encountered stranded motorist twice

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The Martin County Sheriff's Office released new evidence in the murder of FHP Trooper Joseph Bullock. (WPEC)

The Florida Highway Patrol trooper shot and killed on I-95 had two encounters with the stranded motorist, the second one would end with what Sheriff Snyder called his "unprovoked, premeditated murder on the side of I-95," the Martin County Sheriff's Office said Friday.

Investigators shared disturbing new video evidence and information in the killing of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Bullock.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office said a stranded motorist, Franklin Reed III, shot Bullock at point blank range as the trooper sat in his car possibly filling out paperwork.

An off-duty officer from the Riviera Beach Police Department, engaged Reed and shot him in the chest. Reed eventually took his own life by shooting himself in the head, the sheriff's office said.

Investigators said Bullock initially pulled up to check on Reed who couldn't get his SUV started on the side of the highway. Deputies believe he ran out of gasoline. Reed didn't want his SUV towed, even after his boss came out to give him gas. Reed still couldn't get the car started.

Bullock returned to the same spot on the highway after motorists reported a crash in that area since Reed's vehicle had moved to the ditch in the median.

The sheriff's office said Bullock returned with his blue lights flashing but for some reason deactivated the dash board camera on his patrol car.

Sheriff William Snyder believed Bullock may have thought he was pulling up to a stable scene, since he had been there before.

However, this time Bullock calls in a tow truck since Reed's car can't stay in the ditch.

The tow truck driver for Tri-County Towing told investigators that Reed didn't have any money to pay for the tow and wanted his SUV back. But the truck driver demanded payment since the SUV was already hooked to the tow truck.

Snyder said Bullock waited at the scene for the two to work it out.

Investigators said Reed walked over to Bullock's patrol car. The tow truck driver headed in that direction as well.

It's at that moment when Reed shot Bullock at point blank range.

Deputies said Reed tried to shoot the tow truck driver but his gun jammed.

Investigators said the blood test results on Reed are not in yet. The sheriff's office said he was involved in a theft in Palm Bay on the day before the shooting.

Last week, family, friends and law enforcement gathered in Bradenton for Bullock's funeral and burial in Sarasota.

Bullock served his entire career of nearly 19 years with Troop L in Fort Pierce.


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