Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 1 year, 2 months
Badge # 29/228
Weapon: Officer's handgun
Offender: Sentenced to life
Police Officer Christopher Horner was shot and killed while checking on a suspicious car in a cemetery at approximately 6:40 am. He notified dispatch with a description of the vehicle but failed to respond to further communications. Other officers responded to the scene and located his body next to his patrol with a gunshot wound to the head.
His murder had remained unsolved for five years until a man in jail on another charge confessed to being involved with it after undergoing a spiritual conversion. Investigators determined that Officer Horner had come across several men in the cemetery who had robbed a hotel several hours earlier and were planning a bank robbery.
He had the four suspects in the car exit at gunpoint, however, a fifth person had already exited the car before Officer Horner's arrival and was in a nearby orange grove. As the fifth suspect exited the orange grove behind Officer Horner, one of the suspects being held at gunpoint distracted him by engaging him in conversation.
As Officer Horner backed up towards his patrol car the fifth suspect attacked him from behind. The other suspects immediately joined in the struggle and disarmed him. One of the suspects yelled to the other to shoot him and the suspect shot the officer in the back of his head with his own service weapon. The suspects then placed the handgun under his body and fled the scene.
The subject who confessed to being involved was originally sentenced to life plus 107 years, but the sentence was later reduced to 15 years for his cooperation in testifying against the other men. The subject who shot Officer Horner was sentenced to life plus 10 years, but the United States Supreme Court later vacated his murder conviction and prosecutors have decided to not to retry him for murder. He will be resentenced for his conviction of using a firearm during a crime of violence to kill another person and faces a possible life sentence.
Officer Horner had served with the Haines City Police Department for 14 months. He is survived by his wife and six children.