Remembering the fallen: Memorial held for officers killed in the line of duty

- The Tampa Police Department honored the memory of three law enforcement officers killed by a man on a murderous rampage in 1998. 

The officers - two detectives and a state trooper - were investigating the shooting death of a 4-year-old boy at the hands of his father, Hank Earl Carr, who police said was a convicted felon and had a history of violence.

Homicide detectives Randy Bell and Ricky Childers, however, treated Carr as a grieving father who they would question as part of standard protocol.

Instead, Carr escaped his handcuffs on the way to the station, wrestled a service weapon from one of the detectives, and then shot and killed both detectives.

Carr fled in a stolen vehicle but was stopped by Florida Highway Patrol Trooper James Brad Crooks. Carr shot and killed Trooper Crooks, as well.

Hours later, he turned the gun on himself.

After 20 years, the pain of their tragic deaths remains with those he left behind.

Saturday's memorial brought Tampa police officers, Florida state troopers, family members, and friends together to make sure their legacies are never forgotten.

“I just didn’t get a lot of time with him when I was younger. I was 14 when it happened," detective Randy Bell's daughter, Ashley explained. "So I live through the memories now."

Ashley Bell is now a member of the Tampa Police Department.

“It was more to honor him at first, but now that I’m in it I really love it, and I think it’s what I’m supposed to do,” she said.

Although it’s been two decades since their murders, Glenn Harris, son of Ricky Childers, says attending the memorial never gets any easier.

“It’s still hard, and you miss your father. He died doing what he loved [to do] so we hold onto that, and we’re proud of him,” Harris said.

The Tampa Police Memorial is located at 411 N. Franklin Street and is open to the public.

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