Community salutes slain state trooper in procession through DeSoto County

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
FHP Trooper Joseph Bullock, 42, was killed in the line of duty by a stranded driver he was working to assist along I-95 in Palm City, Florida Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. Community members gathered in DeSoto County to salute Bullock, as his remains were taken to Sarasota Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. Credit: Florida Highway Patrol via WINK News.

Trooper Joseph Bullock, 42, with Florida Highway Patrol was killed in the line of duty Wednesday. He grew up in the Southwest Florida community and has now received an emotional farewell.

FHP Trooper Bullock was escorted through DeSoto County Friday, and his remains are now in Sarasota

“It is a powerful, moving sight to see,” said Timothy Thiel in South Gulf Cove. “You had a lot of people out here lining the streets, a lot of kids, teenagers.”

Community members lined the streets of the procession for a fallen hero.

“Thank you for your service, and thank you for all you do, and thank you for your support,” said Rodrigo Santiago-Lopez in DeSoto County.

FHP Trooper Bullock, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was shot and killed in Palm City Wednesday by a stranded driver he was working to assist.

“We have many law enforcement who have fallen, and it’s just a tragedy,” Santiago-Lopez said.

The 19-year trooper was a graduate of Lemon Bay High School in Englewood. He is remembered for his excellence on the football field and in the wrestling ring.

“He’s tough, had a great support system with his family,” said Sean Huber, a coach and teacher at Lemon Bay. “He was a joy to coach, and everybody here is feeling the sting of it.”

Businesses, community members and law enforcement all paid tribute to Bullock, whose remains were brought from Fort Pierce, through DeSoto county and into Sarasota.

“The turnout today was unbelievable,” Thiel said.

FHP said it will announce memorial service arrangements for Bullock once they are finalized.

The day’s processions proved to many that community members will continue to salute those who make the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the communities they serve.

“There’s a small-town America,” Thiel said. “They truly came out to show their support.”

Florida Highway Patrol tweeted there are no official fundraisers for Bullock or his family currently, so it’s warning against any suspicious pages that may claim to be raising money on his behalf. To report any encountered scams, contact Florida Office of the Attorney General at 1-866-9NO-SCAM or by visiting

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.