Broward deputy killed in Pompano
Posted on Fri, Aug. 10, 2007Digg it del.icio.us reprint or license print email
BY WANDA J. DeMARZO AND JENNIFER LEBOVICH
BROWARD SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Deputy Chris Reyka died in the Walgreens parking lot in Pompano Beach early Friday morning. He was shot in the head.
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A Broward sheriff's deputy was shot to death early Friday behind a Walgreens drugstore in Pompano Beach.
A manhunt was underway for his killer or killers.
It is the second time in four days a BSO deputy has been shot in the line of duty.
The latest shooting occurred about 1:20 a.m. Friday at a 24-hour Walgreens at Cypress Bend Drive and Powerline Road in Pompano Beach.
Deputy Chris Reyka, 51, had seen two cars parked behind the store and became suspicious. As he was getting out of his patrol car to investigate, he was ambushed and shot, said BSO spokesman Elliot Cohen.
Customers found him and called 911. He was pronounced dead soon after at North Broward Medical Center.
''This has been one of the most difficult, saddest, most challenging weeks this agency has ever had,'' Sheriff Ken Jenne told reporters after meeting at the hospital with the dozens of deputies who worked with Reyka.
''You look back at the summer, deputies have been shot. Deputies have been stabbed. We're telling people: Let your emotion out,'' Jenne said. ``The men and women are very brave. There's a lot of macho people feeling very sad.''
Reyka, of Wellington, had been on the force for 18 years, serving with the Pompano Beach Police Department before BSO took it over in 1999. He has four children -- two at home, ages 13 and 15, a 21-year-old in college and a son serving in the U.S. Marine Corps who is scheduled to go to Iraq in two weeks.
Dozens of law enforcement officers from all over Broward and Palm Beach County were looking for two suspects, last seen heading north on Powerline in an early '90s model white four-door sedan. It might have been stolen. Its license plate number is F16 8UJ.
A dragnet was set up for miles around, with helicopters from BSO and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office scouring the area from above, and K-9 units searching on the ground.
The deputies who worked with Reyka in Pompano Beach arrived at the hospital's conference center about 5:15 a.m. in a procession of about two dozen squad cars, followed soon after by Jenne. Grief counselors were meeting with them. Among those who gathered: retired officers who worked with Reyka before the city police department merged with BSO.
''We're hit, and we're hit very hard,'' Jenne said.
After talking to deputies at the hospital, the sheriff proceeded to the Pompano Beach sheriff's bureau to address roll call.
Crimestoppers was offering a $10,000 reward for tips that lead to an arrest. To report information call BSO at 954-765-4321, not 911.
A deputy told The Miami Herald a rash of recent robberies at Walgreens stores may have prompted Reyka to check out the suspicious cars at the Pompano store, which is across from the Palm-Aire Golf Course. The Walgreens was closed and cordoned off.
Van Roberts, who lives in the massive, 6,000-unit Palm-Aire condominium complex across from the Walgreens, said he was watching TV after 1 a.m. when he heard what he thought was a series of gunshots.
He pulled on a shirt, shorts and shoes and jumped in his car to check out what had happened. Emergency lights were flashing at the Walgreens.
''I watched [the fire rescue truck] drive off with all of the police officers,'' he said. ``It had a big escort.''
In April of this year, Reyka was named deputy of the month for doing exactly what he was doing early Friday. On two separate occasions, he was checking out suspicious cars and his actions led to arrests or the recovery of property. In one case, the car turned out to be stolen and in the other a man burglarizing a nearby business was arrested.
The shooting comes as Deputy Maury Hernandez, 28, fights for his life at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.
Hernandez was shot in the head Monday after he pulled over a motorcyclist who had run several red lights. A suspect in that case was arrested shortly after the shooting.