Corporal Cleo L. Tomlinson, Jr.

Corporal Cleo L. Tomlinson, Jr.

Florida Highway Patrol, Florida

End of Watch Monday, July 13, 1981

Cleo L. Tomlinson, Jr.

Corporal Cleo Tomlinson, Trooper Robert Pruitt, and Trooper Merle Cook were killed in an airplane accident while searching for two break-and-enter suspects in St. John's County.

The suspects were charged with three counts of homicide in connection with the deaths of all three troopers. The primary burglary suspect was convicted of burglary and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was released only to be sentenced to 6 years for cocaine sale in October of 2010 and he currently resides in the Florida State Prison System.

Corporal Tomlinson had served with the Florida Highway Patrol for 19 years.


  • Age 42
  • Tour 19 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Aircraft accident

Most Recent Reflection

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I was a very young Deputy finishing my shift the day Tommy was killed. I was heartbroken because I had just finished the Police Academy where he also served as an instructor & he was one of the best we had. As an 18 year old kid in the Academy, he too the time to be kind to me. I've never forgotten his laughter & good humor. RIP Cpl.

Philip Cochran
St. Johns County Sheriffs Office

September 28, 2012

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