Email insights: Governor calls for peace after death of Tarpon Springs officer

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Another tragedy befell Florida’s law-enforcement community when a Tarpon Springs police officer died in the line of duty Sunday morning.

Detectives said 23-year-old Marco Antonio Parilla Jr. shot and ran over Officer Charles Kondek, a 17-year police veteran, while trying to avoid arrest.

Gov. Rick Scott, in an email Sunday afternoon, said he was saddened about Kondek’s heartbreaking death.

“Ann and I pray that God provides comfort to his loved ones,” Scott said, “and all those who have been affected by this terrible tragedy.”

Kondek arrived at a call over a noise complaint around 2 a.m. As he exited his vehicle, detectives said Parilla began opening fire. Kondek returned fire before falling to the ground.

His death came soon after the killing of Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Smith, who also died on duty.

“Each loss of a law enforcement officer is heartbreaking,” the governor said. “Losing two heroes in less than a month is a cry for peace and a signal to all Floridians to pray for our men and women in uniform who protect our communities each day.

“As we celebrate the holidays,” he added, “I hope and pray that Floridians can come together and foster a peace that will prevent future tragedies in our state.

As governor, Scott said he is always thinking about how to best honor those who wear the uniform and serve Florida families.

“Ann and I join all Floridians in honoring our fallen heroes,” he continued. “We will continue to pray that God watch over all of our law enforcement officers and their families.”

Scott said he would attend the funeral of Officer Kondek, as he did with the November memorial for Deputy Smith.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.