Here is a statement from St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara regarding Sgt. Gary Morales, who died today in the line of duty
Sgt. Gary Morales was a 12-year veteran of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.
He was born in the Bronx, New York. He served in the United States Air Force beginning in 1995 when he was stationed in San Antonio. He served in Panama from 1996 to 1998, returned to San Antonio in that year and was honorably discharged in 1999.
He received the Air Force Achievement Medal, Outstanding Unit Award, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Seervice Medal, Overseas Long Tour Ribbon Longevity Service Award Ribbon and Air Force Training Ribbon.
He joined the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office in October 2000. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master's degree in Criminal Justice from Keiser University.
He served in Uniform Patrol, School Resource, S.W.A.T. (where he was Team Leader of the Snipers) and Special Investigations and the Training Unit. He was a firearms, defensive tactics and driving instructor. He also was a CrossFit Instructor. His last assignment was in Uniform Patrol. He was promoted to Sergeant Jan. 18.
In 2001, he posed undercover as a high school student in "Operation Safe Kid." His efforts enabled the Sheriff's Office to make 21 arrests on 73 charges ranging from drug violations to the removal of serial numbers from a firearm.
Sgt. Morales earned a reputation for decisive action dealing with crimes in progress, investigative skill and compassion for victims of crime, as letters of commendation in his file indicate. Members of the public, businessmen and members of Treasure Coast and Florida law agencies commended Sgt. Morales' professionalism, teamwork and dedication.
His departmental honors included Unit Citations (four times), Exceptional Duty (also three times), and two Safe Driver Awards.
This morning, he was shot and killed in the line of duty.
He leaves a wife, two daughters, and a brother, Brad Morales, who is a St. Lucie County Deputy Sheriff.
At 9:28 a.m., deputies made a traffic stop in the 3200 block of Naylor Terrace, just south of Edwards Road, south of Fort Pierce in unincorporated St. Lucie County. At some point during the traffic stop, a suspect got out of his vehicle and shot Sgt. Morales who was in his patrol car.
Sgt. Morales was transported to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute where he was pronounced dead.
The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office this morning arrested Eriese Alphonso Tisdale, age 25 (DOB 6/13/1987), of Fort Pierce. He will face a variety of charges. He is being held without bond at the St. Lucie County jail.
His previous arrests include drug and traffic charges. He will have a bond hearing Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. The presiding judge will be Thomas Walsh.
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Sgt. Gary Morales, 1977 - 2013
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