Family Shooting Ends with Tallahassee Police Officer Death

June 30, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements, Violent Crimes

This Wednesday things went from bad to worse in Tallahassee. What began with a man shooting three of his family members has ended with a Tallahassee Police Officer dying in the line of duty.

We will cover the details of the case, along with the various charges the defendant may face for killing a police officer.

What was the Incident?

According to the press release posted on Leon County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page, Tyrone Cleveland, 37, entered his home on June 8th, 2022, and shot three of his family members. According to the court records, Cleveland told officials that he called for a family meeting with his wife and two daughters. Suddenly he claimed he “just went blank” and started “alternating between pointing the firearm at himself and family members.”

After shooing his wife and both daughters, Cleveland exited his house and shot at one of the daughter’s boyfriends as well. The boyfriend told police he had to “hit the deck.” Cleveland then proceeded to flee the scene in his car.

While LCSO headed to the house to respond to the call about an assault, Cleveland was driving on North Monroe Street and Capital Circle NW. He came across a LCSO deputy, who had noticed the suspect’s vehicle. Cleveland turned his car around and started driving towards oncoming traffic.

While driving on the opposite side of the road, Cleveland suddenly collided with a Tallahassee Police Officer’s vehicle at the intersection of Capital Circle NW and NW Passage. The officer was transported to the nearby hospital, but he unfortunately died from his injuries resulting from the crash.

The three victims that Cleveland shot were also transported to the hospital for their wounds. Two of the family members suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and the third is in stable condition. Cleveland was also taken to the hospital after the car wreck. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

It has now been released that the TPD officer who was killed in the crash was identified as Christopher Fariello. Fariello became a full-time police officer for TPD in January 2019. The late officer was also a FSU graduate from 2012.

FSU President Richard McCullough released the following statement to send condolences to Fariello’s family and friends:

“On behalf of everyone at Florida State University…I extend our deepest condolences to the law enforcement community and the family and friends of Christopher Fariello. He was committed to serving and protecting the citizens of Tallahassee [and] we will always remember his bravery and ultimate sacrifice.”

When Cleveland appeared in court and was visibly upset throughout the hearing. One source even stated that Cleveland stormed out of the court proceedings in the middle of the judge speaking, and started curing as he walked out. Court documents described Cleveland as “extremely agitated” and “acting aggressive.”

As of now, Cleveland is facing three counts of premeditated attempted murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a weapon or ammunition by a convicted felon. There has still not yet been a charge booked for the officer’s death in the car accident.

“It’s still an active criminal investigation, so I’m not going to get into the charges; the investigation continues,” said State Attorney Jack Campbell.

Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter, which can also be referred to as vehicular homicide, is defined under Florida Statute Section 782.071 as the killing of another individual or a fetus by an injury to the pregnant mother, which is caused by reckless driving. Vehicular manslaughter cases are typically caused by drugs, alcohol, or car racing.

It is not required by the prosecution to prove that the driver intended to injure or kill anyone when they got behind the wheel of a vehicle. Instead, it is the fact that the driver was indifferent to the consequences of their behavior which is what the penalty punishes for.

Vehicular manslaughter can fall under a first or second-degree felony. If the crime is considered a second-degree felony, it is punishable with up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison. If the crime is considered a first-degree felony, it is punishable with up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.

To read about the potential defenses to a vehicular manslaughter case, find our blog post here.  

Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer

The Florida Statute Section 775.0823 covers any violent offenses that are committed against law enforcement officers, correctional officers, state attorneys, justices, or judges. Florida Statute Section 782.065 defines the murder of a law enforcement officer, a correctional officer, or a correctional probation officer. Under the Florida law, the defendant will be sentenced to life in prison without the eligibility for release if the following is found beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant committed first-degree murder and the death sentence was not imposed;
  • Second-degree or third-degree murder was committed while committing any of the charges listed in Florida Statute Section 782.04(2);
  • Attempted first-degree or second-degree murder; or
  • Attempted felony murder
  • The victim of any of the above offenses was a law enforcement officer, part-time law enforcement officer, auxiliary law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer.

If a defendant is convicted of first-degree murder of a police officer, the penalty is up to a $10,000 fine and a life imprisonment sentence without possibility for parole. For second-degree murder, the penalties include up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison. For third-degree murder, the penalties include up to a $5,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison.


The City of Tallahassee Police Department posted the following statement on their Facebook page after the death of one of their officers on Wednesday:

“It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that one of our officers was killed in the line of duty today. The officer was involved in a traffic crash just before 1:30 am at the intersection of Capital Circle Northwest and Northwest Passage.

We are working with the family and ask that you respect their privacy during this difficult time. We also ask that you keep our officers in your thoughts and prayers during this tragic loss. This is an open and active investigation and there are no further details available for release at this time.”

In addition, LCSO has posted the video of the press conference following the line of duty death. You can view the entire video here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, make it your top priority to reach out to a Tallahassee Criminal defense attorney. Navigating the legal processes can seem intimidating, so don’t get left feeling like you have to go it alone. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have experience representing clients all across the state of Florida for various criminal charges. We will strive to strategize a strong defense for your case, and fight for your freedom. For a free consultation call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.

Written by Karissa Key

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