Corporal Cleo L. Tomlinson, Jr.

Corporal Cleo L. Tomlinson, Jr.

Florida Highway Patrol, Florida

End of Watch Monday, July 13, 1981

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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

aerial search, aircraft accident

Most Recent Reflection

View all 24 Reflections

Tommy was an instructor of mine at the academy in Seminole Couty in mid 70s. Superb instructor and a truly good man. I worked for Brevard County SO until 1993 and heard about Tommy's death a year or so afterwards. No internet then so no way to post a memory. I'm long retired and for some reason I thought of Tommy today and looked him up. I remain saddended at the terrible loss but I'm happy to see so many remember him. He was a credit to the Highway Patrol and to Law Enforcement!

Burton J Brown, SGT RET
Brevard County Sheriff's Department

April 11, 2023

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