Trooper Michael Simmons
Troop H - Quincy
Congratulations to Trooper Michael D. Simmons for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for September 2008, for his quick thinking and prudent actions while assisting a Wakulla County deputy during the apprehension of an armed suspect.
On September 15, 2008, Trooper Simmons was on patrol in Wakulla County. He overheard on the Wakulla County Sheriff’s office radio that a burglary had occurred at a service station in Crawfordville and the suspect vehicle was headed northbound on US 319. Trooper Simmons was north of Crawfordville and started driving south. He heard Wakulla County Deputy Wheeler advise that he was stopping the vehicle in the parking lot of a retail center. The vehicle stopped and then fled from Deputy Wheeler northbound on US 319. At the same time Trooper Simmons heard Lt. Johnston of Wakulla County say that the suspect was probably armed because the service station had been “shot-up” with a shotgun.
As Trooper Simmons was still going south, Deputy Wheeler advised that the vehicle had crashed at a local country store. Trooper Simmons was approaching the area when he saw the suspect vehicle re-enter US 319 northbound. As the vehicle approached Trooper Simmons, the driver swerved into his lane in an attempt to hit him and continued on northbound. Deputy Wheeler was alone, and knowing that the suspect was possibly armed, Trooper Simmons assisted in pursuing the suspect. The suspect continued north on US 319 to Oak Ridge Road where he turned right and drove east. During the eastbound pursuit on Oak Ridge Road the suspect fired several shots. Trooper Simmons and Deputy Wheeler did not return fire. The suspect turned south onto Moore Woods Circle and drove at a high rate of speed. The suspect vehicle ran into a tree and became inoperable. The suspect exited the vehicle with a silver handgun in his hand. Trooper Simmons and Deputy Wheeler had their weapons drawn and ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. The suspect slipped and fell, and as he got up he threw the handgun to his side and ran into the woods. Deputy Wheeler ran after the subject while Trooper Simmons cleared the vehicle for additional subjects. He saw a shotgun in the vehicle, but finding no one else in the vehicle he ran into the woods to assist Deputy Wheeler. Deputy Wheeler had the subject on the ground but the subject was actively resisting his arrest. Trooper Simmons assisted Deputy Wheeler in taking the subject into custody. Trooper Simmons and Deputy Wheeler returned to the scene of the crash and secured the empty shotgun in the vehicle and the handgun the subject had thrown away.
The suspect was a juvenile who was under the influence of Zanax and marijuana. He had stolen the guns, car and money from relatives. He broke into the service station using the shotgun to gain entry and then randomly fired the weapon inside the station.
Trooper Simmons is commended on his quick actions, excellent police work, and his commitment to keeping the people of Florida safe. Congratulations!