SLC deputy shot & killed during traffic stop

Sgt. Gary Morales
Sgt. Gary Morales

FORT PIERCE, FL (WFLX) - A St. Lucie County sheriff's deputy was shot and killed Thursday morning during a traffic stop south of Fort Pierce, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.

One suspect is in custody, according to St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

Sgt. Gary Morales, a 13-year agency veteran, was shot and killed in the 3200 block of Naylor Terrace, Mascara said. He was 35.

At 9:28 a.m., deputies made a traffic stop on Naylor Terrace, just south of Edwards Road and 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 deputies said.

Deputies chased the suspect to Oleander Avenue where they arrested him after he crashed his car.

Sgt. Morales was transported to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute where he was pronounced dead. "Today is one of these days that deadly consequences occurred, and we lost a hero today," said sheriff Mascara.

The suspect in custody is being questioned at this time.

The area of the 3200 block of Oleander Avenue will be closed to traffic for the next few hours at least while the investigation continues.

Morales was promoted to Sergeant on Jan. 18, 2013.

This was the second police officer in less than 24 hours who was shot. A Port St. Lucie officer was shot Wednesday night while responding to a domestic violence call.

Morales was a native of the Bronx, New York. He was a veteran of the United States Air Force. He joined the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office in October 2000.

The last time a deputy was killed in St. Lucie County was in October of 2005. During defensive tactics training, Master Deputy Joseph P. Hover was injured and later died as a result of complications from surgery.

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