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Remembering our heroes: 14 fallen Florida officers honored on Peace Officers Memorial Day

FLORIDA (WFLA) - This week marks National Police Week, a time that people across the nation honor the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect their communities.

National Police Week falls every year the week of May 15, which is Peace Officers Memorial Day. Law enforcement officers from around the country gather in Washington, D.C. on May 15 every year to honor their brothers and sisters in blue who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Dozens of officers from all across the country are being honored in this year's Roll Call of Heroes. Most of those included in the roll call died in the line of duty in 2018. Some died in previous years but were just recently determined line-of-duty deaths.

Among the officers being honored this year are 14 from Florida:

Officer Jermaine Brown: Miami-Dade Police Department

Officer Brown died on Dec. 12, 2018, at the age of 46. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Officer Brown was killed in an ATV crash while conducting an enforcement detail near a canal bank. Miami-Dade Police Director Juan J. Perez said Brown "lost his life while protecting our community, as he responded to assist fellow officers."

Officer Thomas Coulter: Daytona Beach Police Department

Officer Coulter died on May 21, 2018. The 25-year-old was a newly-hired officer and experienced a medical issue during physical training exercises. He was taken to the hospital where he died three days later.

Deputy William Gentry Jr.: Highlands County Sheriff's Office

Deputy Gentry, an 8-year veteran of the force, was responding to a neighbor dispute in Lake Placid on May 7 when he was shot by a convicted felon. He was rushed to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers where he later died. "In the true spirit of a public servant, Deputy Gentry's organs will be donated so that some good may come out of this unthinkable tragedy," the sheriff's office said at the time.

Officer Jorge Gil Jr.: Haines City Police Department

Officer Gil died Feb. 29, 2016. Police say he suffered a stroke at the end of a shift 12 days earlier. He was 41 when he died and had been with the Haines City Police Department four years. Before that, he served in the United States Army and with the Department of Corrections.

Officer Adam Jobbers-Miller: Fort Myers Police Department

Officer Jobbers-Miller was shot in the line of duty and died July 28, 2018. Jobbers-Miller was answering a call at a gas station when he was shot by a suspect who was later arrested. Officer Jobbers-Miller joined the police department in Sept. 2015. He died at the age of 29.

Deputy Taylor Lindsey: Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office

Deputy Lindsey and his colleague, Sgt. Noel Ramirez, were killed in an ambush as they ate at a Chinese restaurant on April 19, 2018. The sheriff's office says the two had just sat down to eat while on duty when they were attacked. Deputy Lindsey died at the age of 25. He had served with the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office for over three years.

Officer Tawanna Marin: Florida Department of Corrections

Officer Marin died on June 18, 2018, after serving nine years as a corrections officer. Marin was hit by a car while supervising an inmate work squad in South Florida.

Sgt. Larry Marrero: Miami Beach Police Department

Sgt. Marrero died on Nov. 28, 2018. Police say he suffered a medical emergency while he was on duty at police headquarters. Marrero was a 28-year veteran of the department and was serving as a background investigator at the time of his death. 

Sgt. Noel Ramirez: Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office

Sgt. Ramirez was eating at a Chinese restaurant with Deputy Taylor Lindsey on April 19, 2018, when a man ambushed and killed them. Sgt. Ramirez died at the age of 29 and left behind a wife and two young children. He had been with the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office since 2016. He previously served at the Williston Police Department and Levy County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Michael Ryan: Broward County Sheriff's Office

Deputy Ryan died on Dec. 31, 2017, after serving the Department of Detention for 13 years. Deputy Ryan collapsed in the parking lot of the main jail on Dec. 15 and was rushed to the hospital where he died on New Year's Eve. 

Capt. Charles Scavuzzo: St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office

Capt. Scavuzzo died on Sept. 15, 2017. The Officer Down Memorial Page says he suffered a heart attack while performing search and recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma.

Deputy Kevin Stanton: Brevard County Sheriff's Office

Deputy Stanton died on Feb. 17, 2018. The sheriff said Deputy Stanton was driving to work early that morning in his patrol car when he was hit by a semi-truck that lost control. Stanton was a field training officer and had been with the sheriff's office for 11 years.

Officer Lance Whitaker: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

Officer Whitaker died in a car crash on May 15, 2018. Whitaker was a 17-year veteran of the sheriff's office and received full honors from the Honor Guard. The sheriff's office said he had a "kind heart and contagious smile."

Deputy Benjamin Zirbel: Clay County Sheriff's Office

Deputy Zirbel died on Aug. 21, 2018, two days after he was involved in a crash. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Deputy Zirbel was on his department motorcycle when a pickup truck towing a trailer turned in front of him. He had been with the sheriff's office for 12 years.

 


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