Trooper Brett A. McCranie
Troop C - Winter Haven
Trooper Brett A. McCranie has been selected as the recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month award for December 1999, based on his apprehension of a suspect involved in a firebombing incident at the Denny’s Restaurant at County Road 579 and State Road 574.
On Wednesday, December 8, 1999, Trooper McCranie was on routine patrol and stopped at the traffic signal on County Road 579 at State Road 574. Trooper McCranie looked to his left toward the Denny’s Restaurant, and saw a large orange object fly through the air and strike the building. Upon striking the building, the orange object exploded in a large ball of flame.
McCranie drove into the Denny’s parking lot and identified a blue pickup truck that the object had been thrown from. The driver of the pickup truck looked at Trooper McCranie prior to leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed. McCranie had activated his emergency equipment in the parking lot and the suspect fled, at which time McCranie advised the Tampa FHP Communications Center of what had just happened and to call for the fire department.
Trooper McCranie attempted to stop the suspect on westbound State Road 574. The suspect refused to stop, so he advised the Tampa Communications Center that he was in pursuit of the vehicle involved in the firebombing. The suspect fled into a residential area, approximately two miles from the scene, and pulled into the driveway of his residence at 10919 Old Hillsborough Avenue. The suspect continued to the back of the driveway, where he then stopped, exited the vehicle, and ran into the rear entrance of the trailer. As Trooper McCranie exited his patrol vehicle and was approaching the trailer, a white female exited the front of the trailer and yelled "we don’t have any guns in the house". She stated that there were small children asleep inside. McCranie directed her to get the children and herself out of the front door of the mobile home to a place of safety, and she complied.
Trooper McCranie and a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy then ran to the rear of the mobile home in search of the suspect. The deputy advised McCranie that they had answered a domestic violence call at this residence a week earlier and that he knew the floor plan of the residence. McCranie and the deputy then entered the residence from the rear door and found the suspect in a rear bedroom.
The suspect was arrested without incident and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail for Arson, Possession of a Firebomb, Reckless Driving, Fleeing and Eluding, and Driving while License Suspended. Sergeant John K. Lane, and Troopers Don King and Teressa Hill were also on the scene to assist. During inventory of the pickup truck, Troopers King and Hill found another firebomb that had spilled over and a gasoline container in the rear bed. They also found material that was used as a wick in the front of the pickup truck.
Trooper McCranie is an eight-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol assigned to Troop C, Winter Haven.