2 St. Lucie officers shot, 1 fatally, in separate incidents

Published On: Mar 11 2013 11:45:31 AM EDT   Updated On: Feb 28 2013 03:28:49 PM EST

A St. Lucie County Sheriff's deputy was shot and killed during a traffic stop Thursday morning in Fort Pierce, hours after another Port St. Lucie police officer was injured responding to a domestic dispute.

Authorities say Sgt. Gary Morales, 35, was killed when a suspect who got out of his vehicle and shot into the patrol car, according to Sheriff Ken Mascara.

Morales was taken to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The suspect fled and was apprehended on Oleander Avenue, just a few blocks away. His name hasn't been released.

Morales was a 13-year veteran of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office who was promoted to sergeant just a month ago.

"My sympathies go out to the family and colleagues of St. Lucie County Sheriff's Sgt. Gary Morales," Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. "His death is yet another tragic reminder of the dangers law enforcement officers face every day to protect us. Let us remember Sgt. Morales for the dedication and bravery he gave to his community."

A Port St. Lucie police officer was shot in the pre-dawn hours Thursday after responding to a domestic disturbance at a home on Southwest Estaugh Avenue.

Police say Lt. Ronald Caudell was hit in the leg by shotgun pellets fired by 54-year-old Robert Lee Frey, who had threatened to kill himself. Officers said when Frey was struck by what police called a "non-lethal" round at him, retreated back inside and began firing his shotgun.

Caudell was released from the hospital and expected to make a full recovery.

Police said the Frey then barricaded himself inside the home, but eventually surrendered to a SWAT team. He now faces numerous charges.


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