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Hero Down: Tallahassee Police Officer Christopher Fariello Killed By Fleeing Attempted Homicide Suspect

Tallahassee, FL – Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) Officer Christopher Fariello died in the line of duty on June 8 when a fleeing attempted homicide suspect slammed into his patrol vehicle.

The series of events leading to the 34-year-old officer’s death began at approximately 12:30 a.m., when the Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) received a report of an assault at a residence located in the 4200-block of Saplin Court, Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil told the Tallahassee Democrat.

The TPD said they were advised that 37-year-old convicted felon Tyrone Cleveland shot three family members inside his house, then fled in a vehicle, the department said in a press release.

A LCSO deputy and Officer Fariello spotted the suspect vehicle in the area of Capital Circle NW and North Monroe Street just before Cleveland suddenly made a U-turn into oncoming traffic, according to police.

Cleveland then slammed his vehicle into Officer Fariello’s cruiser at the intersection of NW Passage and Capital Circle NW, the TPD said.

The injured officer was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

The suspect was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the TPD.

The victims Cleveland allegedly shot were identified as his wife and two daughters, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

One was listed in stable condition on Wednesday morning, and the other two victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Cleveland has been charged with three counts of premeditated attempted murder, possession of a weapon or ammunition by a convicted felon, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

Additional charges pertaining to the death of Officer Fariello may be forthcoming.

“It’s still an active criminal investigation, so I’m not going to get into the charges,” State Attorney Jack Campbell told the Tallahassee Democrat on Thursday. “The investigation continues.”

Cleveland stormed out of his first court appearance on June 9 after the judge ordered that he be held without bond, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

“Y’all playing games!” the convicted felon declared, uttering an expletive on his way out.

Cleveland, who has a long history of criminal offenses, was also convicted of child abuse in 2013.

TPD Chief Lawrence Revell released a statement saying the death of Officer Fariello should serve as a “stark reminder of the sacrifice the brave men and women” of the TPD make each and every day.”

“They put on their uniform and walk into the unknown to protect and serve this community,” Chief Revell wrote. “We are thankful for Officer Fariello’s service. Please continue to keep his family and the entire department in your thoughts and prayers as we grieve this loss together.”

Officer Fariello graduated from Florida State University in May of 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in criminology, the TPD said in a press release on Friday.

He then began serving the Wilton Manors Police Department as a code compliance administrative assistant, and later became a police service aide.

Officer Fariello was hired by the TPD as a police officer trainee on July 11, 2018, the police department said.

He completed the law enforcement academy in January of 2019 and was sworn in as a full-time TPD officer.

“Officer Fariello was proud to serve the citizens of Tallahassee and embodied the epitome of what it means to be a public servant,” the TPD said. “As a member of TPD’s Patrol Unit, Officer Fariello enjoyed a high level of engagement with the community. Patrol officers are frequently first on scene to answer 911 calls for service, be it a noise complaint or major crime.”

A TPD patrol vehicle wrapped in a blue and black ribbon has been serving as a memorial outside the police department in the wake of Officer Fariello’s death, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

“Today, we lost a hero,” Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday. “I want to make sure the officer’s services and sacrifice will never be forgotten. Let’s remember that every day when they get up, they put on the uniform to serve and protect us. Some of them make the ultimate sacrifice, which was made this morning.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Tallahassee Police Department Officer Christopher Fariello, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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