Photo/Story Gallery 2003
June 2003 Troopers of the Month
Congratulations to the Troopers of the Month!
On June 30th, Sergeant James Crawley, Troopers Thomas Ketterle, Eric Devaul, Robert Logan, and Rafael Ugalde were just finishing their work break at a local Denny’s in West Palm Beach, when they heard multiple gunshots coming from the IHOP parking lot down the street. The troopers responded on foot while Sgt. Crawley jumped in his patrol car. As the troopers entered the parking lot, a black 2000 Saturn with two occupants could be seen traveling through the parking lot.
Sgt. Crawley attempted to stop the fleeing vehicle. However, the shooting suspects sped through a Shell station parking lot and headed north to Kenwood drive. In their attempt to get away, the suspects failed to negotiate a turn, left the road and struck a building, causing minor damage to their vehicle. Both suspects then fled the scene on foot. Sgt. Crawley set up a perimeter to attempt to contain the suspects, and contacted units from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the West Palm Beach Police Department for assistance. After an exhaustive search of the area, the suspects were apprehended near I-95 and Okeechobee Road.
Meanwhile, the troopers saw a subject on foot in the parking area with a handgun, and immediately ordered him to the ground and disarmed him. This subject was later identified as the victim in the incident who had returned fire in self-defense. The situation was quickly stabilized as the troopers located witnesses and secured evidence at the scene.
Preliminary identification of the suspects in the car indicated that both were wanted on multiple charges regarding other shooting incidents and that the vehicle they were driving was stolen. The troopers who responded to this incident did so in an exemplary manner—while both on and off duty—stabilizing an extremely dangerous situation and assisting in the arrest of two violent criminals.