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TPD officer killed in head-on crash with fleeing suspect was an FSU grad

Tallahassee Democrat logo Tallahassee Democrat 6/10/2022 Christopher Cann, Tallahassee Democrat

The Tallahassee Police Department officer who was killed in a head-on crash early Wednesday has been identified as Christopher Fariello.

The on-duty officer was killed when his patrol vehicle collided with a car that police said was being driven by Tyrone Cleveland, who was fleeing the police at around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Fariello, 34, began as a police officer trainee in July 2018, according to TPD. He completed academy and was sworn in as a full-time police officer in January the following year.

He graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor's degree in criminology in May 2012.

On Friday, FSU President Richard McCullough released a statement, sending condolences to Fariello's friends and family.

"On behalf of everyone at Florida State University ... I extend out deepest condolences to the law enforcement community and the family and friends of ... Christopher Fariello," McCullough said. 

"He was committed to serving and protecting the citizens of Tallahassee," he said, adding "We will always remember his bravery and ultimate sacrifice."

Christopher Fariello's badge is pinned by a family member in 2019 when he was sworn in as one of 11 new Tallahassee Police officers. © Karl Etters/Democrat Christopher Fariello's badge is pinned by a family member in 2019 when he was sworn in as one of 11 new Tallahassee Police officers.

Initial coverage: Update: Police officer killed in crash was 34-year-old man with 4 years on Tallahassee force, union says

More: Man who police said caused crash that killed Tallahassee officer charged with shooting wife, daughters

Shorty after graduating from FSU, Fariello began working for the Wilton Manors Police Department as a code compliance administrative assistant before he was promoted to police service aide.

He returned to Tallahassee to work for TPD as a patrol officer, where he was frequently first on scene to answer 911 calls for service, TPD said.  

"Officer Fariello's death is a stark reminder of the sacrifice the brave men and women of this department make every day," Chief Lawrence Revell said in a statement.

"They put on their uniform and walk into the unknown to protect and serve this community. 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."

Just outside TPD headquarters lies a memorial for fallen officers, and since Wednesday people have left flowers in honor of Fariello. Joining the memorial is a TPD cruiser wrapped in a black and blue ribbon.

Bouquets rest on a memorial for fallen officers outside the Tallahassee Police Department on Thursday, June 9, 2022, a day after a 34-year-old officer was killed on duty. © Chasity Maynard/Tallahassee Democrat Bouquets rest on a memorial for fallen officers outside the Tallahassee Police Department on Thursday, June 9, 2022, a day after a 34-year-old officer was killed on duty.

The chain of events that led to the crash began around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday when Leon County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 911 call reporting an assault at a home in the 4200 block of Saplin Court, Sheriff Walt McNeil said Wednesday.

An LCSO deputy responding to the 911 call saw Cleveland’s vehicle at the intersection of North Monroe Street and Capital Circle Northwest and a chase ensued, officials said.

“The suspect then turned his vehicle around and began traveling toward oncoming traffic, colliding with the TPD officer’s vehicle,” TPD Deputy Chief Jason Laursen told a press conference on Wednesday.

Cleveland, who is accused of shooting his wife and two of his daughters before causing the wreck that killed Fariello, stormed out of his first appearance Thursday morning.

He faces three counts of premeditated attempted murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a weapon or ammunition by a convicted felon after Wednesday’s shooting.

A charge in connection with the officer’s death was not included in the initial booking report. “It’s still an active criminal investigation, so I’m not going to get into the charges; the investigation continues,” State Attorney Jack Campbell said Thursday. 

To donate to a scholarship in Fariello's name

  • In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Christopher Fariello Scholarship Fund for Law Enforcement. Checks can be made payable to: The TCC Foundation c/o Officer Christopher Fariello Scholarship at 444 Appleyard Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 32304.

Contact Christopher Cann at ccann@tallahassee.com and follow @ChrisCannFL on Twitter.

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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: TPD officer killed in head-on crash with fleeing suspect was an FSU grad

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