Wildlife Officer Margaret E. "Peggy" Park

Wildlife Officer Margaret E. "Peggy" Park

Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Florida

End of Watch Thursday, December 13, 1984

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Margaret E. "Peggy" Park

Wildlife Officer Margaret Park was shot and killed with her own service weapon when seizing an illegal weapon from a suspect on Keystone Road in Pinellas County. Officer Park had just finished citing a poacher when she heard gunshots coming from an undeveloped subdivision. Officer Park located a pair of men and located a handgun in their van. One of the suspects asked her not to arrest him because he was on probation for grand theft and breaking and entering.

As Officer Park reached into her truck to radio dispatch the suspect grabbed her flashlight and started hitting her on the head. Officer Park was able to call for help on the radio and fired a single shot from her weapon, grazing the second suspect, who then held her down. The first suspect then gained control of her service weapon and shot her in the back of the head as the second suspect held her down. The two fled the scene but were arrested a short time later.

When caught, the first suspect was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. His co-defendant, a juvenile, was convicted of third degree murder and sentenced to seven years in prison but served only two years and ten months before being released. The shooter was executed on February 16, 2010.

Officer Park had served with the agency for 2 years. She was survived by her parents.

Bio

  • Age 26
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Executed in 2010

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Going from the top to the bottom of this write up: Officer Peggy Park did not cite a poacher. Peggy had just issued citation to a man burning copper wire in the same area, he was later a witness. Peggy did not hear gunshots, she observed the headlights of a van going into the undeveloped subdivision and suspected night hunting. There were deer in the area. Peggy was pushed down over her veh seat and beaten with her flashlight by Martin Grossman. Peggy managed to take her 357 call service weapon from its holster. Three shots were fired one went through the bottem of a cup in her cupholder. The second shot went into the firewall of the rear passenger side, the third was a skip round. The 2nd suspect Thane Nathan Taylor, was not grazed, peggy kicked him in the balls and he fell backwards as she fired her first shot. He stayed on the ground as grossman wretched the weapon from Peggy's hand. Grossman shot peggy behind her left ear, she remai ed bent over the seat until they passed her veh as they fled. Taylor testified that she slipped to the ground on her back as they passed. Sometime after Taylor's release he committed suicide. I was a florida wildlife officer and Peggy's best friend, I carried her coffin, attended every minute of the trial along with her family, and attended the execution of Martin Edward Grossman.
Why is it that write ups like this cant get the facts of this tragedy accurate. Future officers could benefit from knowing the correct details.

Retired L E O Lynda B Tharp
1979 to 1986 florida wildlife officer

February 7, 2020

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