L to R: Trooper Hattle, Sergeant Fouraker,
Trooper Petty, & Sergeant Gay
Earlier this month, Trooper Jeffrey Hattle conducted a traffic stop on the driver of a green 1993 Chevrolet Camaro for unlawful speed on Interstate 10 eastbound west of Lane Avenue in Jacksonville. Trooper Hattle approached the vehicle on the passenger side and proceeded to speak with the driver. After retrieving the driver’s license and vehicle documentation, Trooper Hattle walked back to his patrol car and proceeded to complete the E-Citation on his MDT. As Trooper Hattle looked up, he saw the vehicle take off. Trooper Hattle jumped in his patrol car and proceeded to overtake the driver again. The driver pulled onto the outside emergency lane at Cassat Avenue and stopped. Trooper Hattle stopped behind the vehicle, exited his patrol car, and noticed that the driver was holding a silver plated handgun against the head of the right front passenger. Trooper Hattle retreated back to his patrol car and called for assistance by radio.
The driver of the Camaro pulled back onto the roadway and proceeded eastbound on I-10. Trooper Hattle followed the vehicle until it stopped on I-95, one mile north of Emerson Street in the outside emergency lane. The driver still had the handgun aimed at the passenger’s head. Trooper Stanley Petty arrived on the scene for backup. Both troopers took cover at the rear of Trooper Hattle's patrol car. Trooper Hattle ordered the driver to exit the vehicle, however, she refused. The driver began to aim the handgun at her own head, then back at the passenger’s head. She aimed the handgun at the passenger’s head once more and fired--killing him instantly. The driver exited the vehicle and faced the direction of the troopers. She then placed the barrel of the handgun into her mouth for a few seconds, but removed it. She then aimed the handgun into the direction of the troopers. Neither trooper discharged their weapons because of passing traffic and a disabled motorist who was in the crossfire zone.
After a few seconds the driver sat back inside the vehicle and proceeded to aim the handgun at her head. Sergeant Harry Fouraker and Sergeant Jeffery Gay arrived on the scene for additional assistance. Sergeant Fouraker began to speak with the driver over his patrol car P.A. system and was able to convince the driver to put the handgun down and surrender. Trooper Petty handcuffed the individual and placed her into the back of Trooper Hattle’s patrol car.
The investigation revealed that the driver and passenger were both suspects in a murder that occurred in Memphis, Tennessee, and were on the run from Memphis police. They had devised a plan that if caught by police, one would shoot the other and then commit suicide. After being taken into custody, the driver gave investigators valuable information about the killing in Tennessee. Trooper Hattle, Trooper Petty, Sergeant Fouraker, and Sergeant Gay took control of this very dangerous situation in a professional manner and saw it through to a successful conclusion by protecting innocent bystanders and preventing further injury. Not only did they solve a murder that occurred in their presence, but one that occurred in Tennessee as well.
As one story written by Bridget Murphy in the Florida Times Union newspaper stated "Police in Tennessee questioned 30 people, served multiple search warrants, and subpoenaed records for more than a half-dozen phones, but in the end, it was a Florida trooper who broke an investigation into the slaying of a Memphis stripper wide open with his radar gun."