Jupiter Policeman killed in Obama Motorcade

Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Recent Posts | Comments Off on Jupiter Policeman killed in Obama Motorcade

The Jupiter police department has been at work overnight to pay proper tribute to Bruce St. Laurent, who was killed Sunday when his motorcycle was struck during the presidential motorcade.

A police cruiser draped in black banners and topped with a rose sat in front of the police department Monday morning, paying testament to a 20-year department veteran killed Sunday while helping escort President Barack Obama through Palm Beach County.

They have begun with a web page in the memory of the man who was known by fellow officers for his generosity and recognized in the community as the man who often played Santa Claus for the local Head Start program.

An emotional Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow declined comment.

“I’m so overwhelmed right now,” Kitzerow said. “Our first priority is notifying (St. Laurent’s) family.”

“Bruce St. Laurent was a valued member of our community and employee within the Town of Jupiter. He was an amazing person who will be missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to know him.”

“We didn’t lose a co-worker. We lost a friend,” said Sgt. Scott Pascarella, Jupiter police spokesman, who trained St. Laurent when he was a new officer. “He would do anything for anyone.”

Officer Bruce St. Laurent, 55, was traveling with the presidential motorcade around 4:45 p.m. Sunday along Interstate 95 through West Palm Beach when a Ford 150 pickup hit his motorcycle, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Therese Barbera said. Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow said St. Laurent was transported to nearby St. Mary’s Medical Center, where he died Sunday.

Kitzerow visited St. Laurent’s family Monday morning to discuss funeral services, and memorial information will be made public when it is finalized, Jupiter police spokesman Sgt. Scott Pascarella said Monday. He added that in addition to the squad car memorial in front of the Jupiter police station, radio station 103.1 WIRK Country was there, raising money for St. Laurent’s family. The Jupiter Police Department was working on setting up an account at a local bank to gather money for the slain officer’s family as well, Pascarella said.

The crash that took the 55-year-old father of four happened about 4:40 p.m. on the southbound entrance ramp at 45th Street to Interstate 95. St. Laurent was on his motorcycle as part of the motorcade when he was struck by a white Ford F-150 pickup.

St. Laurent was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, said Teri Barbera, spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Obama Presidential Motorcade

Obama was in West Palm Beach on Sunday afternoon for a campaign event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. The president was notified of the accident during the flight from Palm Beach International Airport to Washington, D.C., White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

The driver of the truck also was not immediately identified. Palm Beach County sheriff’s spokesman Eric Davis said Monday that his office and the Florida Highway Patrol are investigating the incident. Barbera said Sunday that authorities were investigating the crash as a vehicular homicide, but she stressed it was still early in the probe.

St. Laurent was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1957, but moved to Jupiter in 1973, and had lived there ever since, according to a memorial statement on the town of Jupiter’s website. He began his decorated career with the Jupiter Police Department in 1992. Three times, most recently in 2008, St. Laurent was named “Officer of the Quarter,” and in 1996, he was selected as “Officer of the Year,” according to the memorial. He was also awarded in 2005 with a Distinguished Service Award by the Traffic Safety Committee of the Palm Beaches.

He was a motorcycle officer for the past 18 years

In 2001, St. Laurent was injured when a vehicle he was chasing westbound on Indiantown Road suddenly stopped and he rammed into the vehicle. Two men in the vehicle were later arrested, one for driving with a revoked license and the other for having an outstanding warrant for reckless driving.

Officers escorted St. Laurent’s body when it was moved from St. Mary’s to the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office on Gun Club Road.

Palm Beach Criminal Attorney Cory Strolla

Palm Beach Criminal Attorney Cory Strolla shared the image on his facebook, and had this to say about Office St. Laurent “He was a great guy and a very good officer! Always had a smile..”