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Brevard Deputy Barbara Pill shot, killed in Melbourne

7:05 PM, Mar 6, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Deputy shot, killed in Melbourne

Police converge on a vehicle whose occupants are suspected in the shooting of a Brevard sheriff's deputy.

 

Melbourne, Florida (FL Today) -- Brevard County Sheriff's Deputy Barbara Pill was shot and killed Tuesday morning near John Rodes Boulevard in Melbourne.

No other injuries have been reported, but police surrounded a man and a woman suspected to be involved in the shooting after their vehicle flipped as they led police on a chase through north Melbourne.

Photo Gallery: Deputy shot and killed in Melbourne

"It's clearly a tragic event," said Melbourne Police Chief Steve Mimbs, whose agency was involved in tracking down the suspect in the shooting. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family."

Brevard Sheriff Jack Parker said Deputy Pill was a 30+ year veteran of law enforcement.

"Any of her sergeants will tell you she was one of the finest deputy sheriffs around," Parker said. "She's the kind of person we could depend on to do anything, and when you met her, she was one of the kindest, nicest people you could ever meet ... her agency was truly blessed to have her."

Sheriff Parker also said two of Pill's sons serve in law enforcement.

"She is just a tremendous loss to our community."

Investigators say Pill stopped a car driven by two people suspected of stealing items from a nearby hotel. Sheriff Parker said the male driver opened fire on the deputy, striking her several times and killing her.

The suspects fled, but police slowed their vehicle with spike strips. The vehicle crashed into a ditch near Parkway Drive and Turtlemound Road.

Police negotiated with them for a time before they surrendered.

The suspects, who are in custody, are identified as Brandon Lee Brady, 22, and Andria Michelle Kerchner, 19. Parker said investigators are trying to determine what charges the duo will face and added that they both have prior criminal histories.

This is the first law enforcement officer shot and killed in the line of duty in Brevard County since Raymond Warner in 1996. Warner was responding to reports of burglary at Merritt Island High School. News of the shooting today left the law enforcement community in shock.

At Holmes Regional Medical Center, the mood was somber as sheriff's deputies and police officers gathered in the hospital auditorium.

John Pasko, the CEO of Melbourne-based Families of the Shield organization that aids families of fallen officers, said the aftermath of the shooting will likely be a very difficult period for law enforcement agents.

"There is a profound impact any time a law enforcement agent is killed. It's a sad moment, not only for the agency or the city but for the nation," said Pasko, also a Melbourne police officer with 21 years of experience.

"This is a time when we come together and stand by one another. We also stand with the family, let them know that we are here, that we are listening and that they are not alone. For officers, this lets us know that it could all change within seconds, within minutes."

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J.D. Gallop, Florida Today

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