Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Trooper Phillip A. Black

Florida Highway Patrol, Florida

End of Watch Friday, February 20, 1976

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Reflections for Trooper Phillip A. Black

I don’t know what compelled me to look up Officer Black’s passing today. I was a teenager and working at a restaurant off of I-95 in the Pompano Beach/Ft. Lauderdale area. As I was driving home to Coral Springs , late one night, I hit something on the railroad tracks and blew out a tire. It was late, I was alone and scared. Officer Black observed my car with the emergency flashers on from the overpass on I-95. He had the foresight to come and investigate, By the time he found me, I was hysterical. He showed such compassion for a frightened teenaged girl. He calmed down, changed my tire and sent me safely home. I was blessed to see him and his sweet wife one time after that experience when they came to dinner at the restaurant where I worked. I subsequently went off to college in Gainesville. I received a phone call from my mother one day, telling me of Officer Black’s tragic passing. I was devastated to learn of this tremendous loss. I’ve never forgotten his kindness and compassion toward me when I was so young and vulnerable. Rest in peace, Officer Black.

Sandra Giacalone
Recipient of his kindness

February 20, 2024

I was a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper and was stationed on Broward County, Florida. I was off duty when this happened. I responded from home in the north end of the country. I arrived within minutes of the call. I will never forget the loss I felt and still feel today. I had worked with Trooper Black for 6.5 years. He was a great influence in my life.

Jeffrey Gypson

March 22, 2022

When Phil and Constable Irwin were murdered, I had been on FHP just over a year and, living just around the corner, had only visited his home once. I made my first felony arrest in the same rest area where he died. I am proud to have witnessed the execution of Jesse Tafero, one of the three who murdered him. RIP Phil and Constable Irwin.; I hope your families were able to carry on without you.

Formerly FHP

November 19, 2021

I worked with Trooper Phil Black
He was my FTO when I started with FHP in 1977, and was working the day he was killed. I stayed with FHP, moved to Va. and was in Law enforcement for 33 years total. Phil was the reason I stayed in LEO. He is still in my heart every day.

Sgt Jeffrey Gypson
FHP and Portsmouth Police dept.

October 24, 2021

I attended Trooper Blacks funeral at the age of 12 in Coral Springs, FL. It was the most influential factor in me deciding to become a police officer 10 years later. During my 30 yr career, I was always mindful of the circumstance he was up against that night. Trooper Black became an angel for all officers working the streets.

Major (Ret) Mike Hathaway
Marietta Police Dept. GA

August 16, 2021

This is the first time I have ever seen this page.

It's been a number of years since I last read any articles on the death of Donald Irwin that happened in February 1976. I was doing my usual daycare of 9 children and it was a PD day for them. I also remember that it had to have been the coldest day so far that winter in Oshawa Ontario. My husband came home from working in Toronto and shocked me with the news of Don's murder at a rest area in Deerfield Beach.

I knew Don from my childhood days. I was placed in a foster home, one of many back then. Don and his brother Douglas lived on an 85 acre farm outside of Peterborough Ontario. It had an assortment of animals and crops that kept everyone very busy, seven days a week.
I walked a mile everyday to a one room school in all kinds of weather. Living in the country, you learn a lot about nature, predicting the weather and how to grow your own food.

Some years later I went back for a final walk down the back lane. The property had many changes made. The siding on the house had been removed and little did I know, that I had been living in a log house years earlier.

This is just a little bit of the memories I had of that time and place.

Anne Armstrong
a foster sister to Donald and Douglas Irwin back in the 1950's

May 12, 2020

Rest in peace Trooper Black.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

April 20, 2020

This may be a little late in coming but has to be contributed. Time has slipped by and it has been forty four years since Phil’s passing and fifty four years since our service together but he has never been forgotten. At the time of 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company’s forming and activation in October of 1965, our team consisted of Staff Sergeant Black as team leader, Ozzie Austin (retired Florida police office now deceased), John Borst (retired NIS agent) and myself. The unit was formed specifically for deep reconnaissance operations just below the DMZ in Vietnam. They selected only the best officers and leaders for this unit and Phil, coming from 2nd Force Recon Co., stood out as the best of the best. For the six months of initial training before his back injury at jungle warfare training in Panama and ultimate medical discharge from the Marines, Phil was instrumental in forging us into an effective reconnaissance team that enabled us to survive thirteen months of Vietnam jungle warfare. Several years later I, along with Tom Nicholson (USMC ret.) ,was able to visit Phil in the Keys and get a ride in his rickety patrol car and spend the weekend with him and his family. I served 29 years in the military and never witnessed a Marine more dedicated and qualified than Phil. His expertise in amphibious reconnaissance benefited the entire company during our training cycle and was surely passed on to many other Marines over the years. Mostly he was a friend, a loyal family man and a Marines Marine. I'm sure he carried this same dedication into his career as a police officer. May he rest in peace. Semper Fidelis

Marine Gunner Ron Lauzon, CWO-4, USMC (R
Radioman, Team 6-1, 3rd ForReconCo

March 29, 2020

Rest in peace Trooper Black along with Constable Irwin.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

February 20, 2020

I worked late nights loading trucks at a vegetable packing plant out on what then was a pretty remote Hwy 441, west of Deerfield Beach. I was just a young kid , usually alone and Phil would often stop by in his patrol car to come in and “get a soft drink”. I knew he was just checking to make sure I was ok. And I was sure happy to see him. We often talked about his kids, his wife Grace, travel plans; anything to give enough time for passers by to see the patrol car out front. I never had a chance to thank him, but now, some 46 years later I still think of him often. God bless you Phil Black, and thank you.

George Nelson

February 5, 2020

Was working that night as a young officer with the Pompano Beach Police Department. I had met Trooper Black. He was a fine family man and a shining example of what a law enforcement officer should be. In the years following Trooper Black’s murder, the national media made a mockery of the justice system without regard for the Trooper’s sacrifice or memory. Judge Daniel Futch did an admirable job during the trial and sentencing.

Sheriff Bill Elfo
Whatcom County (WA) Sheriff’s Office

July 6, 2019

It has been 49 years now since Phil passed away and I still have tears after reading about his passing. I was just compelled to do a search for his name. We lived in his neighborhood and I was friends with his wife Grace. I have often wondered how she is. It was such a fun neighborhood and mainly because of Phil. He organized picnics in the little neighborhood park. He was full of tricks like tying the end of the rope to a tree and having a rope pull with two teams--none knowing he had the rope tied. My husband rode on his shifts with him a few times. He gave me a Stetson trooper hat that was too small for whoever it belonged to. We had horses so that was a big deal. Grace and I went to Yoga classes together along with a couple of other neighbors. I remember how cute Scooter was and how much his parents loved him. I remember him as Chris but had forgotten his nickname. It touched my heart to read all of the tributes to him and this is exactly how I remember him. Christopher if you see this I hope you will email us and let us know about your Mother. Rest in Peace Phil Black. It was an honor knowing you.

J.D. and Lynda Marks
Neighbor and friend

March 18, 2019

Rest in peace Trooper Black. You and Constable Irwin, two honored heroes.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

January 15, 2019

I attended Trooper Blacks funeral at my church in Coral Springs, FL. It inspired me to become a police officer in which I served for 30 yrs. I will never forget the impact his death had on my life.

Major Mike Hathaway
Marietta GA PD

April 2, 2018

Phil Black was a picture book Marine and my friend. I served with Phil as a Recon Corpsman and I admired him greatly. As his medical representative, I went with him to a Medical Board when he continued to have lumbar problems. He chose to leave the Marine Corps and became a Florida State trooper. I was shocked and deeply saddened when I heard of his violent death by two scum on the highway. I will always remember him as one of the best.

LCDR William S Bentley, USN ret
Former Recon Corpsman

October 6, 2017

Phil was my first cousin. His father, Paul, was my mother's brother. Even though he has been gone a long time I think of him often. I wish I knew
What happened to his wife and son. I remember he always called him Scooter. My husband and I live in Delray Beach, FL now. From Illinois. If anybody has any information please let me know. I have MANY MANY FUNNY stories. His name puts a smile on my face

Jackie Lewis Wohlwend

April 1, 2017

Hi, Phil! As we get older and reflect on our childhood it is you that comes to mind so often. When I was a young girl we were neighbors in Hillsboro Pines. Do you remember you were Wonder Boy and I was Wonder Girl and we would dress up in hilarious outfits for community BBQ's and fun. I really looked up to you, as a second father and my hero. You were always so kind to all of the neighborhood kids and families. I remember you would give me rides to Margate so I could go to the dances. You know what else I remember...I kicked your butt in pool...LOL!! I sure do miss you. Thank you for being my friend, for being you and giving of yourself to each and everyone one of us. God Bless You!!

Robin Dawson

January 23, 2017

I was one of those children who was run over by the car in Pompano Beach on a September evening. Trooper Black was there for my parents while they waited for me to come out of surgery. He comforted them and explained to them that the owner of the car did not have any I surance. He assured my parents he would do whatever he could to help them and the five other families caught in this tragedy. The moment still haunts me when my mom approached me explaining Trooper Black had been killed. I screamed and cried, so shocked that a great man could be taken in such a brutal manner. christian and Mrs. Black, I think of you often.. As a sister of a police officer, I understand the sacrifice which families of law enforcement make. I am so glad there is a memorial page to record my memory. Thank you officer Black for your sacrifice.

Carol Gillespie
Grateful friend

July 26, 2015

Trooper Black was a great man I met him when I was in high school we would Race in the lower keys on Sundays and trooper Black would always be there to stops us and if you didn't get a ticket you would get a ride home to your parents as kids we all knew him and respected him very much he told me one time that I should join the Army which I did and stayed 28 years so now when I get in my car and start to drive to fast I can hear him saying slow down Rest in peace my friend


July 14, 2015

My freind and I were on our way north from Pompano going to work on Hillsboro Blvd., Wallin roofing. We must of happened on the tragic scene moments after it happened.It was hard to tell looking in the direction of the rest area what the situation was,as there were two men laying on the ground, a state trooper car with the driver door open and blue light on.I didn't see any other people moving around. A minute or two later a state trooper car passed by me in the median at a high rate of speed throwing grass up in my windshield. Naturally that startled me. Soon after there were several police cars speeding in all directions. Having read the story ,I now know it may have been the shooter as they said they stole the police car. When we arrived at work we found out it was rumored to be Officer Black. We were stunned because we all knew him at the roofing company.Just a few weeks prior he joined us for our Christmas barbeque. Had that never happened Phillip Black made an impression on me I would still remember forever. One day he pulled the work truck over in front of us. Afterwards he came back to our truck and jokingly asked "Do you think Gene's mad at me?, I mean I have to write a ticket every once in a while. He was refering to the fact that that our tags were usually covered with tar or broken lights etc. Nine times out of ten he might stop us just to say hello or have a quick joke. Those few times I encountered O fficer Black clearly impressed me that he was a man of great character, courage, compassion, and a sense of humour. Today 38 years later is the first time I"ve seen his picture and I kind of got chills as if it was just yesterday. To his family and close freinds I hope I didn't hurt by describing what I saw, but more so of what my thoughts were about the man having barely known him, but admired him none the less. Tom Petrovsky

Tom Petrovsky

March 16, 2014

A close friend and retired Florida State Trooper posted information about your E.O.W. yesterday. I was just a young child when you were taken from us, but it was "Law Enforcement Officers" like you who made a lasting impression on me to become one myself. Thank you for your service Trooper Phillip A. Black. Rest easy Brother, we have the watch down here.

D/S Andrew D. Roedel J-39
Jackson County Sheriff's Office Marianna, Florida

February 21, 2014

Yes, 38 years have passed and we still miss you.

The Family of Trooper Black

February 20, 2014

Gone, but not forgotten.

Sgt. T. J. Jones
Greater Cleveland Transit Poice Department, Ohio

February 20, 2014

Trooper Black ran many calls with me on I-95 & other roads in my zones. Was a great man blessing to work with! The Paramedic's miss him & Firefighters. We will never forget him! RIP.

Debra Owens Paramedic/Firefighter, retir
Broward County Fire Rescue

February 20, 2014

Hi, Phillip.... 38 years today, Sir. I still think of you often and cant help but wonder how many lives have traveled a better path for having come across you, without you even knowing your impact. Like me.... I hope that I am better for having known you.

Roger Walker
BCEMS (retired)

February 20, 2014

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