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Police Officer Ernest Kearns Ponce de Leon | Tallahassee Police Department, Florida Tallahassee Police Department, Florida

Police Officer

Ernest Kearns Ponce de Leon

Tallahassee Police Department, Florida

End of Watch: Friday, July 8, 1988

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 40

Tour: Not available

Badge # 647

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun

Offender: Died in prison

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Officer Ernest Ponce de Leon was shot and killed while assisting another officer during a suspicious vehicle call. The occupants of the vehicle had claimed that their identification was packed in luggage in the trunk. One of the occupants was accompanied by the other officer to the trunk while Officer Ponce de Leon covered them. Suddenly two of the men pulled out handguns and opened fire, striking Officer Ponce de Leon, who was not wearing a vest, in the chest.

One of the suspects was shot and wounded by the other officer. All of the suspects were apprehended as backup officers arrived on the scene. It was learned that the suspects had escapted from the Maryland Department of Corrections a few days prior. The 33-year-old suspect who shot Officer Ponce de Leon was sentenced to death and the others were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

The suspect sentenced to death died in prison October 27, 2015, of apparent natural causes.

Officer Ponce de Leon was survived by his son and daughter.

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Remember that horrible day like it was yesterday. I was working at LCSO as a deputy sheriff then, and had just talk to you the day before. RIP Ponce.

SWC Edwin O Maxwell
FDLE Capitol Police
July 15, 2016

 

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