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

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

Most Recent Reflection

View all 52 Reflections

I just walked the Peggy Park Trail in Chestnut Park in Palm Harbor. As a medically retired Police Officer from California (2000), I wanted to know more about Officer Peggy Park and her sacrifice. Back then there weren't too many women Law Enforcement Officers. At the time in 1984, I was in the Coast Guard, working at a small boat Search & Rescue Station in Alaska, aspiring to be a Police Officer after my enlistment. Even in the USCG, I was in a rate, a line of work, a Boatswain's Mate, which was entirely male dominated. I'm not the office type gal...no woman Officer is! We love the outdoors, want to help make our community a safer place to live, and to help people during their greatest time of need. All of us women back then in the military, in Law Enforcement, were all pioneers, attempting to break the glass ceiling into new occupants and it was NOT easy by any means. I finished my enlistment & served my community as a Police Officer until I was injured in a violent struggle with a two-striker gangbanger, high on drugs, with a felony warrant, who refused to return to prison. That ended my career of 13 years and I have been in physical pain ever since. I would easily say that over 80% of my Officer peers also were injured in the line of duty and were forced to retire. I know how hard it is to be a woman Officer. There were so few of us but I would do it all over again. But how sad that Peggy's life ended with a senseless violent death... because someone, a habitual criminal, didn't want to go back to jail. Instead, to remain free, he killed a woman. I have experienced that same resisting arrest scenario so many times on the streets and in the end, that is exactly how my career ended. As I walked the trail, I reflected..., appreciating her efforts and others who patrol tirelessly day & night, all year round, during holidays...in a thankless, dangerous occupation. Peggy, may you Rest in Peace Girl. Job well done! Thoughts, prayers, & tears and a Blue Rose to you... from a Sister in Blue

Debbie Gorzycki
Retired, Oxnard PD, California

August 19, 2018

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