St. Petersburg Shooting: History of St. Petersburg Officers killed in the line of duty

5:05 PM, Jan 24, 2011   |    comments
St. Petersburg Detective Herbert Sullivan was the twelfth officer killed in the line of duty.
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St. Petersburg, FL - Monday, January 24, 2011 two St. Petersburg Police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty. That brings the total number of officers killed within the department to 14.

According to the city of St. Petersburg's website, the twelfth officer killed during a drug deal. August 18, 1980 around 1:00 p.m. Detective Herbert Ray Sullivan parked his unmarked gray Chevy pick-up truck in the parking lot at the Save Inn, 2260 54 Avenue North. Sitting beside him was his partner Detective Harry Herbst. After the vehicle stopped Detective Herbst got out of the vehicle and entered the motel where the drug deal was to take place. Detective Sullivan held the money for the deal.

None of the back up units had a visual on Detective Sullivan and no one noticed a broad-shouldered black male approach the pickup truck and open fire hitting Detective Sullivan multiple times in the chest. The next day police arrested Sammie Lee Mathis and charged him with the murder. His confederate in the shooting was William G. Haake, who fled to Spain but was later extradited.

Both men were sentenced to life in prison.

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