Trooper John E. Gikas
Troop G - Marion Co.
Trooper John E. Gikas has been selected as recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month award for June, 1997, based on his actions involving the apprehension of a robbery suspect in one incident and a kidnapping suspect in another.
While conducting a routine traffic stop on June 16, 1997, in Marion County, Trooper Gikas was notified by a citizen that someone had just committed a robbery at the Waffle House Restaurant adjacent to his location. Gikas was advised that the suspect was fleeing from the area on foot near the exit ramp of I-75 and US #27.
Trooper Gikas immediately notified the Ocala FHP station of the situation and responded to the area. Upon arriving he observed a black male near some bushes and a white male standing near the roadway. As Gikas exited his patrol vehicle, the black male advised him that the robber had just jumped the fence adjacent to the Waffle House, and then ran north.
As Gikas began searching for the suspect, other witnesses advised him that the black male was in fact the robbery suspect. The suspect then fled south, with Gikas in pursuit. After a short foot chase, Trooper Gikas apprehended the suspect. The currency taken by the suspect was located and recovered. The robbery suspect was taken into custody and charged with various crimes, including robbery, fleeing and attempting to elude, and resisting arrest.
In another incident during the month of June, 1997, Trooper Gikas was instrumental in the capture of a kidnapping suspect. He was advised by the mother of the kidnapping victim that the victim's father had reportedly abducted her child at gunpoint. Gikas quickly obtained the necessary information, then notified his fellow officers and other law enforcement agencies with a description and possible route of travel of the suspect.
The suspect and victim were ultimately located and apprehended based on this information, and the victim was safely returned to his mother.
Trooper Gikas is a 6-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol assigned to Troop G, Marion County.