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Comrades pay tribute to fallen officer

Feb 10th, 2011 | 0

Story and photos by BRUCE COLLIER

Col. Greg Malloy was killed in the course of a manhunt last week for murder suspect Wade Williams. Malloy, an officer with Holmes County Correctional Institute’s K-9 unit, died of injuries sustained during an exchange of gunfire with Williams last Wednesday. Another Department of Corrections officer, Arthur Teal, was also struck by a bullet and is recovering from his injury.

Williams was a suspect in the Jan. 26 killing of his parents. He was last seen driving a truck that had belonged to his father, a vehicle that was found burned and abandoned in the woods in the Choctawhatchee Wilderness Management Area on Jan. 27. Investigators also found remains of a campsite near the truck. A local hunter, Thomas Crews, was assisting in the search when he made contact with Williams, who he saw laying out laundry near a campfire. Williams was alerted to Crews’ presence and an exchange of shots took place before Williams fled. Crews, who was nicked by one of the rounds fired at him, called 911 and a team of deputies and tracking dogs responded. Malloy and Teal were part of that team.

The lawmen tracked Williams for an hour, and Williams reportedly doubled back on his tracks and ambushed his trackers near an area called Bear Pen. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating what happened at that point. There was apparently another exchange of shots, and Williams and Malloy were hit. Williams was killed, and the injured Malloy was airlifted to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, where he later died.

On Sunday, Feb. 6, Malloy’s fellow officers and a host of local and state officials, including Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Attorney General Pam Bondi, and Florida Governor Rick Scott, attended the service held at Walton High School (WHS).

Traffic into the WHS grounds was heavy, with civilian and law enforcement vehicles passing under a large American flag draped over the roadway to the school. The service was held in the auditorium, and a line of friends and other mourners stretched from the main hallway out onto the parking area and to the road. Row upon row of uniformed officers could be seen – police, sheriff’s deputies, Department of Corrections officers, K-9 unit personnel, plainclothes officers, and an honor guard formed of representatives of various agencies and forces. The guard members were in full dress, with unit patches and decorations, some even bearing polished sabers.

The funeral service ran from 2 – 3 p.m., and could be viewed by monitor from the WHS hall. Adkinson, Bondi, Scott and Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil all spoke, praising Malloy’s professional dedication and sacrifice. Friends and colleagues also took their turn, painting a picture of a hardworking man who loved his family. Toward the close of the service, attendees inside the building were asked to move to the walls to allow passage of the family and casket from the auditorium to a waiting vehicle.

Outside the WHS main entrance, the honor guard formed up in two lines, standing quietly awaiting orders. After about 15 minutes of near-perfect silence – in a crowd estimated to have numbered in the thousands – a voice called for attention. Every law officer in attendance snapped to, in absolute silence. The salute was held while Malloy’s casket was slowly borne through the double line of guards and placed in the funeral vehicle. The crowd dispersed, and Malloy’s casket was taken to Darlington Baptist Church for graveside service and interment.

Malloy is reportedly the fifth Florida law enforcement officer killed in line of duty this year.

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