Trooper Merle J. Cook

Trooper Merle J. Cook

Florida Highway Patrol, Florida

End of Watch Monday, July 13, 1981

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Merle J. Cook

Trooper Merle Cook, Corporal Cleo Tomlinson, and Trooper Robert Pruitt were killed in an airplane accident while searching for two breaking-and-entering 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.

Trooper Cook had served with the Florida Highway Patrol for 10 years. He was survived by his four sons, parents, and two nephews.


  • Age 44
  • Tour 10 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Aircraft accident

aerial search, aircraft accident

Most Recent Reflection

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Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice will always be remembered. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

July 13, 2020

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