Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Trooper Edwin J. Gasque

Florida Highway Patrol, Florida

End of Watch Thursday, October 26, 1961

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Reflections for Trooper Edwin J. Gasque

Florida trooper killed in 1961 ambush is memorialized with signs on U.S. 301

Posted on Gainesville News February 4, 2020

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Edwin J. Gasque was ambushed and killed in 1961 in Baldwin. On Friday he was finally memorialized with special signs on U.S. 301 as his daughter, then 9, watched the unveiling.

Katherine Gasque was only 9 on Oct. 26, 1961, when a Florida Highway Patrol trooper showed up at her Jacksonville home to tell her mother the tragic news.

The 9-year-old girl’s father, Trooper Edwin J. Gasque, had been ambushed and killed as he and a prison dog handler tracked two fugitives wanted for abducting a Duval County sheriff’s deputy on U.S. 301 near Baldwin.

On Friday afternoon, 58 years after that news, a plaque honoring her father was unveiled at Highway Patrol Jacksonville’s headquarters. Two will be placed at each end of a 5-mile stretch of U.S. 301.

Dabbing at tears she apologized for, Gasque thanked all troopers for “putting your life on the line” every day, as well as how kind the Highway Patrol has been to her family for all these years.

“You just made us always feel part of the Florida troopers’ families,” she said. “Would you all please stay safe, because I know there are no guarantees when you go out.”

A total of 48 Highway Patrol troopers have been killed in the line of duty statewide since the department was formed in 1939, but some had not been memorialized yet. That was rectified with a bill last year filed by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Hollywood, and Rep. Chuck Brannan, R-Macclenny.

Brannan, who was a Jacksonville police officer and U.S. deputy marshal, said this was the first bill he filed when he was elected last year. He told Gasque that time does not diminish respect for any of these troopers memorialized now.

“We respect your father and I just hope all the troopers we honor, as the motoring public pass these signs, they will remember,” he said. “It was not how your dad or these other officers died that made them heroes. It was how they lived and how they served.”

Gasque had been a trooper for two years and was stationed in Jacksonville in 1961. He was called to help search for two suspects who had abducted a Duval County sheriff’s deputy.

Melvin Farmer was the Highway Patrol dispatcher on duty and said Friday that the memorial signs are “58 years too late” for Gasque, but happy it finally happened. He said he can never forget that day.

He said a deputy was checking a suspicious car on West Beaver Street when he opened the trunk.

“When he looked up, he was facing a rifle,” Farmer said of the deputy. “They disarmed him and handcuffed him to the tree.”

The deputy got free and chased the suspects, and the county radioed the Highway Patrol for backup. Gasque went to help, then his lieutenant radioed in the news to Farmer.

“He said Trooper Edward J. Gasque was a fatality, result of a gunshot wound while on a manhunt. Fifty-eight years later, I still remember it like it was yesterday,” Farmer said. “I couldn’t cry, but I wanted to. It was hard to take.”

He went to the morgue to identify Gasque’s body, something he had never had to do before.

One of the two memorial signs has already been placed on U.S. 301, the other to be placed soon. This is the third time in recent weeks that the Highway Patrol has placed memorial signs on Northeast Florida roads in memory of slain troopers.

A week ago, part of Interstate 95 in St. Augustine received signs honoring Trooper Wilburn A. Kelly, killed on March 23, 1974, in St. Augustine when another vehicle rear-ended his. And two weeks ago part of U.S. 1 in St. Johns County was named in the memory of Troopers Merle J. Cook and Robert L. Pruitt and Cpl. Cleo L. Tomlinson Jr. The three men were killed July 13, 1981, while assisting in the search for two suspects wanted for breaking and entering.

In closing Friday’s ceremony for Gasque, Col. Gene Spaulding, the state’s Highway Patrol director, thanked everyone who helped get these final 29 troopers recognized. He said he hopes people who drive past these signs remember their “ultimate sacrifice” and “slow down a bit.”

“But we also hope it will cause a moment of pause about how they are driving” Spaulding said. ”... Quite a few were killed in car crashes as well, struck on the side of the road while writing a ticket and someone wasn’t paying attention to the blue lights.”

Gasque’s widow, Kate, who is 90, could not attend Friday’s ceremony. But her daughter made sure to shoot video of all the troopers and people who attended to show her mother.

Retired Police Officer

February 4, 2020

Rest in peace Trooper Gasque.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

February 9, 2019



October 26, 2016

To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 53rd anniversary year of your death. I am privileged to leave a tribute to you. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service.

My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace

Phyllis Lasater Loya
mom of fallen officer Larry Lasater

January 5, 2014

We will honor you forever and you are not forgotten! Great nephew Mark Jensen, great neices Tiffany, Sarah, and Laura Jensen.

Nephew Brian Jensen wife Joyce Jensen
Florida Highway Patrol Sgt.

April 27, 2013

We will never forget, continue to rest in peace Trooper Gasque.

Deb Azure
Mother of Deputy Renee Danell Azure
EOW 08/06/02
Union County SO, Lake Butler, FL

October 26, 2012

Sou um Gasque, Policial do Brasil, tenho 26,5 anos de serviço.
Fico sencibilizado, pois também sou Gasque e Policial em outro continente.


August 15, 2012

Thank you Trooper Gasque for your dedicated service. You are still remembered.

Sergeant James Preston (ret)
Florida Fraternal Order of Police

June 26, 2012

Rest in Peace, Trooper Gasque. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

February 9, 2012




December 22, 2011

Continue to rest in peace Trooper Gasque, we will never forget the heroes who gave their all for us, and you are a hero.

Deb Azure
Mother of Deputy Renee Danell Azure
EOW 08/06/02
Union County SO, Lake Butler, FL


October 26, 2011

I wish I could have met my grandfather, but through the stories I hear, and the legacy he left behind, I feel as though I know him in spirit. I know he's up there with my father, and we'll all be united together one day ~

Lindsey Gasque

August 4, 2011

This coming October will mark 50 years since you were taken from our family. Time does not heal all wounds and I will forever wonder how our lives would have been different had you been with us to share our lifetime together. I am proud of you and for your courage and your service, but will forever miss my daddy.

Katherine Gasque

August 4, 2011

Time goes on, but you sir will never be forgotten. Thank you for your service, protection and dedication to all.

Deb Azure
Mother of Deputy Renee Danell Azure
EOW 08/06/02
Union County SO, Lake Butler FL


October 26, 2010

Trooper Gasque, your are not forgotten. God Bless you and your family.

SSA Ellen Pierson

August 2, 2010

Trooper Gasque,
On today, the 48th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of the state of Florida. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.



October 26, 2009

You are remembered today and thank you Sir for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

October 23, 2007

You are remembered today and thank you Sir for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

October 23, 2007

You are remembered today and thank you Sir for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

October 23, 2007

I honor you Troop.

Jim Crotty, Special Agent (Ret.)
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms

October 28, 2004

Trooper Gasque you will never be forgotten. Thank you for your service for making this a better place to live.
Help watch over Clint for me...

Connie Barker
Mother of P.O. Clint Walker E.O.W. 1-14-04

August 21, 2004

The memory of your service and sacrifice lives on.


May 31, 2004

Rest in peace.

Ofc. Michael Walker
Tallahassee Police Dept.

December 5, 2003

You made the ultimate sacrifice. May the memory of your service, heroism and sacrifice remain forever. We are proud of you and thankful for all of your service. May God bless you and your family. AC

Pennsylvania State Police

A Hero forever!
Great neices and nephew Joleen, Jacob, and Justine,Jensen
Hilliard, Florida

Ann Jensen Johnson
Nassau County Sheriff, Yulee, Florida

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