Outrage over towing bill may have motivated fatal shooting of FHP trooper, sheriff says

New dashcam video and 911 calls reveal the moments that led up to the tragic death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper earlier this month.

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — New dashcam video and 911 calls reveal the moments that led up to the tragic death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper earlier this month.

Investigators said a man from Brevard County shot and killed trooper Joseph Bullock on I- 95 in Martin County on Feb. 5.

The evidence in the case was reviewed and presented Friday by the Martin County Sheriff's Office and the Attorney General's Office.

Content Continues Below

Attorney General Ashley Moody called the Palm Bay man a coward and an evil person.

Officials said Bullock pulled off I-95 to help the driver of a broken-down car near mile marker 107.

They said Bullock called a towing company 28-year-old Franklin Reed III. The Martin County Sheriff's Office believes the tow truck company got there, gave Reed the bill and he became furious.

“Although we will never know with certainty the suspect’s motive, it is possible that the tow bill dispute played a role in the homicide,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.

The Sheriff's Office said Reed then tried to shoot the tow truck driver, but his gun jammed. The tow truck company immediately called 911.

“We were going to collect payment and the person … shot the FHP officer and is chasing after my driver on 95,” a 911 caller said.

Seconds later, a driver noticed the tow truck operator in distress and went to help him. That’s when the dashcam video from that driver’s pickup truck shows Bullock’s body laying on the ground next to his FHP cruiser.

A detective with the Riviera Police Department, who was heading into work, noticed something wasn't right. He pulled over, analyzed the scene and called 911. He saw the trooper and then saw Reed holding a gun.

The Sheriff's Office said Reed shot at the Riviera police detective, and the detective shot back.

“That wound would have ultimately proven fatal. But the round that ended Reed's life was, in fact, self-inflicted," Snyder said.

The Sheriff’s Office said Reed was responsible for a retail theft in Palm Bay the day before the shooting, but other than that, he had no documented criminal history.

Bullock was laid to rest in Sarasota last week.

Watch the press conference where investigators play dash-camera video from the incident below:

New dash camera video and 911 calls reveal the moments that led up to the tragic death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper earlier this month.