Silver Star Award

Trooper Eric Kjekstad and Trooper Frank Melillo – Silver Star

On October 29, 2022, multiple Troop H troopers were participating in a three-day enforcement detail to assist the Tallahassee Police Department due to threats of violence at a local event. As a part of the detail, troopers were assisting with traffic control and crowd management on Pensacola Street. Traffic was gridlocked, and a crowd of hundreds of people had gathered in a parking lot. Close to midnight, shots from multiple small-caliber firearms rang out in a nearby parking lot. As troopers took cover behind their patrol cars and tried to identify the location of the shooters, additional rounds from large caliber rifles were fired from behind the troopers at a restaurant across the street. Troopers were in the middle of crossfire with rounds going over their heads. While rounds were still being fired, troopers ran towards the gunfire to end the threat as quickly as possible. With hundreds of people running in different directions, it was virtually impossible to determine who were suspects and who were innocent bystanders. These troopers ran towards danger, assisted with triaging victims, applied tourniquets, assisted with CPR, and tended to gunshot victims until emergency medical services could arrive. The medical care by these troopers continued for an extended period since emergency medical services couldn’t enter the area until it was deemed safe by law enforcement. It is estimated that over 85 shots were fired from multiple suspects over an approximate 30-second period.