01x07 - The sh**t

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Heart pounding dramatizations of people who have been through a disaster and how they survived.
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01x07 - The sh**t

Post by bunniefuu »

When you're married to a police officer, you just always have to appreciate every day and every moment that you have.

Leaptrott: I think if a person were to call 911 and really had an emergency, Pete would be the guy they would want to show up.

Pete: You know, with 14 years into my career, I'd experienced just about everything at that point.

Pete: Hands up, where I can see 'em.

And sometimes, you get that feeling that says, "You know what, something isn't right here."

And I really didn't get this until it was too late.

Pete had no idea this man was as bad as he was.

Earl: Joseph McGrotha had stated that he would never go back to prison again no matter what. [ Grunts ]

On the police radio, we heard an officer scream.

Leaptrott: If Pete Soulis was in trouble, it was a bad deal.

I knew, "Pete, you got to move now, or you're gonna die."

I was trying to grasp that he had actually been sh*t.

Pete: I had 45 seconds on this earth.

You know, I'm gonna bleed out, and it's game over.

My thought process was simply, "I'm not gonna leave this parking lot, but neither is he."

In An Instant 1x07
"The sh**t"

It was October 19, 1997.

I was working the evening shift.

I was a patrolman with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in Jacksonville, Florida.

[ Police radio chatter ]

I was 38 years of age, married, two small children, and I was 14 years into my career.

You know, with 14 years, I'd experienced just about everything at that point, and I was in good physical shape.

Yeah, on top of my game.

Jacksonville, Florida.

The land-mass size alone, it's the biggest city in the country, and a lot of people don't realize that.

And just that size is gonna, you know, keep us, law enforcement-wise, busy.

So, you know, I-I felt like I had probably 25-30 years experience in 14 years, just because of the environment that I was working in.

[ Police radio chatter ]

It was an extremely slow evening.

Uh, unusually so.

Generally we don't, uh, we don't have time to eat, and this night, that was not the case.

In fact, I got to go home and have dinner with my family.

You don't get to do that very often.

[ Engine shuts off ]

So, what's for dinner?

[ Chuckles ]

Must be a really slow one. [ Chuckles ]

[ Sighs ]

Hasn't been this slow in weeks.

Can't remember the last time I actually got to come home for a meal.


So, how was soccer?

It was awesome!

I almost got a goal.

That's great!

Uh, sorry I missed it. I promise I'll be there on Saturday.

Oh, uh, Lindsay has a meet Saturday too, so you're gonna have to pick one or the other.

Dad, you have to come to my meet.

It's my last practice!

But if he comes to mine, then he could still... - No! No, no.

Oh, oh, wait, oh, oh, n-no, okay no, don't, don't, - He already promised!

Don't make me pick.

Now, just gonna have to figure out how to be, you know, two places at once.

How are you gonna get out of this one?

Boy: No! [ Speaks indistinctly ]

No clue.

He has to come -- has to come to mine.


Pete: Great family life.

We made the decision early, uh, in our marriage that when we had kids that my wife was gonna stay home.

So, she's basically raised those children cause I've been very active.


Sheryl: I met Pete in 1984, and of course, he was, you know, in great shape and handsome, and, um, and he was very sweet, very gentlemanly and, uh, chivalrous.

I knew that he wanted to be a police officer.

He was already in law enforcement.

And I never thought I would date someone that was a police officer.

But, you know, he was just so passionate about protecting people.

The rolls are amazing.

They're really good.

[ Chuckles ]

It's time for lights out.

Where are you going?

I'm gonna go back to work.

Got to catch some bad guys.

[ Chuckles ]

Can we go to the movies this weekend, dad?

[ Chuckles ]

We'll see.

Then, can we go to the park?

[ Chuckles ]

You just get all kinds of plans, don't you?

All right.

Night, sweetie.


[ Chuckles ] Hey.

You got to get back to bed.

Just wanted to say good night, daddy.

All right. Night, p*stol.

Get some sleep.

Off you go.

Get some sleep.

Love you.

Come on.


Hey there.

Hey there.

You studying tonight?

Yeah. Midterms coming up.

Sheryl: The one thing I always insisted on was that he always wore his vest because back then, it wasn't mandatory that they wear their bulletproof vest.

Don't worry. The vest is on.

Not you I worry about. It's the bad guys.

It'll be all right.

[ Scoffs ]

Pete was very good at what he did.

It's like he has a calling, and so I felt very confident.

You know, when he went to work, you know, I always said a prayer for him, and I just didn't worry to the extent like you would imagine.

I think if a person were to call 911 and really had an emergency, Pete would be the guy that they would want to show up.

[ Police radio chatter ]

The area where Pete worked was a, uh, high-crime area -- as*ault, rapes, uh, uh, robberies, uh, m*rder.

About 9:00 at night, I, uh, uh, was tasked to back up a female officer that was searching a building.

[ Alarm beeping ]

It had an alarm go off.

Golf 234 on scene.

[ Police radio chatter ]

[ Fence rattles ]



No broken windows.

No sign of a break-in.

All clear.

Would have at least given us something to do. [ Chuckles ]

It's d*ad out here.

I have never seen it this slow.

I've got to get into something.

[ Chuckles ]

Be careful what you wish for, Pete.

[ Chuckles ]

Have a good one.

You too.

We searched the building.

No issues, everything was secure, false alarm.

So, I started heading to the Interstate.

[ Police radio chatter ]

There's a lot of crime on the Interstate, and it dumps into our city or runs through it constantly.

[ Police radio chatter ]

I conducted a routine traffic stop.

Jacksonville, Florida covers over 800 square miles, consists of approximately a million people.

Every day you turn the TV on, on the news, there's at least one or two sh**t in Jacksonville.

A high percentage was because of the drug trade and the drug traffic in this particular area where Pete worked, and it was his choice to be there.

He wanted to be where the action was.

Pete: Generally, there's nothing but bad guys and police out at that time of night, and I was complacent that night.

You know, I-I was out looking for bad guys, but I was still complacent.

[ Police radio chatter ]

Pete: Jacksonville, Florida is a blue-collar city.

A lot of good people there, but you know, we have our share of problems.

Generally, there's nothing but bad guys and police out at that time of night.

And I was complacent that night.

You know, I-I was out looking for bad guys, but I was still complacent.

Know you got a tail light out?

I'm sorry Officer. This is my dad's truck.

I get up to the vehicle, and I realize this guy's just heading home from work.

You know, he's got a tail light out, and I told him, you know, "Adios, get your light fixed."

All right. I'm just gonna give you a warning today.

Thank you, sir.

Get the tail light fixed.

Yes, sir. Have a good day.

I noticed that a marked unit had pulled up just to check my back.

A marked vehicle is a patrol car.

It's what every citizen recognizes as the police.

I was appreciative.

You know, I didn't call the guy over there.

It was just that slow a night that he could come over here and back me up.

As he leaves, I go ahead and backed up to the back of this closed gas station.

I wanted to back up there for several reasons --

I wanted to catch my log up.

Also, I was a S.W.A.T. team member, um, had been on the team for about nine years at that point, and they had just issued me a new w*apon.

S.W.A.T. stands for Special w*apon And Tactics.

Uh, Pete would normally work as a regular patrol officer, and only if an incident occurred, a-an emergency, then he would transition into, uh, part of the S.W.A.T. unit.

Pete: So, I had walked to the rear of the trunk, and I was inspecting the w*apon.

I closed that trunk on top of that gear, got back in the car, called my wife.

She was studying to be a nurse.

[ Telephone rings ]


Pete: Hey babe.

[ Chuckles ]

I guess it's a really slow night, huh?

Eh, just catching up on my activity log.

Thought I'd give you a quick call.

How are the kids?

We were discussing the kids when I see out of my peripheral vision, I see a car leaving I-95.

It was going northbound.

When I saw him exit the Interstate with his lights off, in police work, that's a clue.

And he pulls in and around the pumps, and he pulls to the phone booth, which is not unusual if he would have stopped.

We have to write a check for the field trip, too.

Yeah, I'm...

Sorry, babe, a car just pulled up with its lights off.

Doesn't have a clue that there's a marked unit right here behind him.

He's up to something.

Okay, he doesn't see you?

Don't think so.

Yeah, I'm gonna have to call you back.


Be careful. I love you.

Love you, too.

Sheryl: Pete was very good at what he did.

I was never very nervous or overly worried or concerned about Pete and his job.

And I really didn't think a whole lot about it.

So, I never dreamed, you know, this would be a night that something would happen.

[ Police radio chatter ]

I was seated in the car behind the gas station.

And I watched this guy, and he pulls in, lights off.

And understand that I only had ambient light.

There was a street light by a phone booth.

That was it. Everything else was pretty dark.

Well, it took him three or four minutes to kind of get himself set up exactly where he wanted to be.

Across the street from where he was parked was a strip mall.

Most of the businesses were closed except for the far business to the left closest to him was a sandwich shop.

It was open.

They get robbed all the time in Jacksonville.

I immediately got on...

We had MDT's, or laptops, at the time.

We would log out on routine or non-emergency calls, we'd log out on this MDT, or computer.

That ended up being a mistake.

All the other units around him, uh, would not have known where he was because they hadn't heard him come up on the radio.

And if I had went out on the radio and put the call out that I was stopping a 13 vehicle, or suspicious vehicle, they would have start rolling my way. There's no doubt.

And this incident probably would have never occurred.

So, I kept my lights off, and I, um, I rolled my marked unit out.

[ Police radio chatter ]

As I'm walking, uh, toward the vehicle, I remember turning the, uh, radio down on my Motorola.

I didn't want him to know I was there until I wanted him to know I was there.

I was directly behind the car when the driver immediately just dove to the passenger floorboard.

Jacksonville Sheriff!

Sit up right now, and show me your hands!

Show me your hands!

Throw the keys out of the window.

Step out of the car. Slowly.

And hands up.

He looked like a surfer dude.

He did not look like a thr*at at all.

What's important is that I can see what appeared to be a large beer frothing out its contents into that floorboard where he had dove.

I'm thinking, "Oh, it was an open container.

This kid just dumped it trying to hide from the police."

I'm a little more frustrated 'cause it scared me, honestly, but, uh, the thr*at level's going down.

Walk towards me. Slowly.

I noticed immediately that his hands are empty with the exception of a driver's license in his right hand.

What's your name?

Joseph McGrotha.

Where you from, Joseph?


All right, Joseph, and what are you doing here tonight in Jacksonville?

Got friends in Miami and, uh, just on my way home.

Friends in Miami, huh?


Here's what I want you to do --

I want you to go sit back in the car, I want you to dump the beer on the ground, and I want you to wait there till I get back.

Go on.

So, I put him in his car, made the walk back to mine.

The whole time, I'm keeping an eye on him though.

[ Beer pours ]

I don't recall if I told him I was gonna run him.

I think it was pretty obvious he knew I was.

When an officer takes a person's identification and does what people call checking it, what he'll do is, he goes to his patrol car, gets on the radio, and calls NCIC, which is the National Crime Information Center.

If that person is wanted for any other crime, they will get what they call a hit.

[ Static ] NCIC, this is Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Golf 234.

Need a 2829 on a Joseph McGrotha.

Responder: 234, be advised, NCIC is currently down.

Damn it.

10-4. How long before its back up?

234, it's probably gonna be a while.

NCIC's out of service, so I'm-I'm not able to run him.

I sat there for a few minutes thinking about what to do, and I decided I'm going to see if I can just get consent to search the car.

If he doesn't give it to me, I'm just gonna let him go.

You know, unless there's something else that, uh, that sticks out, like, a load of dope on the backseat or, or a g*n sitting in plain view that you would, uh, want to talk to him about, you'd have to let him go.

I remember pinning his driver's license to my lapel, right under my pens.

And as I'm doing this, I'm watching him, and that's when I notice something that was very unusual.

[ Police radio chatter ]

What are you doing?

He was constantly looking back over his right shoulder.

He was trying to find out exactly where I was.

So, I said, you know what, I'll solve this problem.

Every light I had, I lit it up.

And it worked. It turned him around...

For a moment.

And then, that's when I noticed he had reached up and grabbed his rearview mirror.

And he'd adjusted it to such an angle that at 25, 30 feet, I could see his eyes, so I knew doggone well he was looking for me.

Sometimes you get that, that feeling right before you walk in, that gut check that says, "You know what, something isn't right here."

And I really didn't get this until it was too late.

And then, it was just bad.

I started to make the approach...

Show me your hands!

...when the hair on the back of my neck just stood up.

Pete: I knew that this guy was not the normal person.

He is trying to find my location, and he's swiveling his head.

This would go on and on and on.

Subconsciously, I'm seeing red flags, I'm seeing things that are telling me, "Hey, this isn't right," but I didn't act on it.

When I lit the car up with my spotlights and he adjusted that rearview mirror, I knew it was on.

Something's going to happen at this point.

I honestly thought he was going to flee.

Um, worse case scenario, he might fight.

I still haven't called it in on the radio.

You know, I felt like I can handle it myself at that point.

And I started to make the approach toward his vehicle.

I got no more than three feet from the front of my car when the hair on the back of my neck just stood up.

Just stood up. I mean, it stopped me d*ad in my tracks.

You know, I've always listened to my instincts, and my gut instinct was just telling me, "Hey man, something is wrong."

So, I took a deep breath, and I backed up and I went around my marked unit.

I wanted to come up on the passenger side of this guy's vehicle at this point because I-I wanted to get the vehicle between me and him.

I just did not have a good feeling about this at this point.

My vision was narrowing a little bit, and, you know, my heart rate was starting to pump a little.

Show me your hands.

Hands up, where I can see 'em.

Where I can see 'em! I don't see your hands!

Show me your hands! Show me your hands!

And when I got close enough to really get a good look at him...

...uh, you know, the world kind of changed for me at that point.

I realized that this guy is waiting to ambush me.

Pete knew what to do, and he had no idea this man was as bad as he was.

The suspect's name in this incident was a Joseph McGrotha.

He was a 27-year-old white male from Warner Robins, Georgia.

[ Engine shuts off ]

[ Static ]

Dispatch, this is Detective Mike Earl.

Could y'all send a crime scene unit to the following address --

100 Beaver Run Drive?

[ Static ]

October 11, 1997, I was an investigator on call for the Warner Robins Police Department.

Warner Robins is an Air Force community located just south of Macon, Georgia.

What do we know up to this point, sarge?

I was assigned a homicide investigation concerning the death of Kenneth Koski.

Mr. Koski was said to have been one of the most kindest, most gentlest persons that one would want to know.

He was in his upper 50s.

Um, he lived alone. He was a widower.

[ Camera shutter clicking ]

This particular case was called in as a, uh, burglary slash m*rder.

Ready to walk me through it?

Let's go.

[ Camera shutter clicks ]

[ Camera shutter clicks ]

This was one of the worst crimes that I've investigated, easily.

[ Camera shutter clicking ]

Earl: People didn't hear any g*n?

Nope. And there are no g*n wounds so...

This scene in itself and learning exactly how it played out, I would not wish anyone to ever have to suffer such.

It was absolutely brutal.

What are you doing?!

Earl: The att*ck itself was brutal.

Full-blown rage.

[ Police radio chatter ]

Did you hear or see anything from the Koski residence?

Well, earlier in the night, I saw him out having a cigarette, which is pretty common.

Earl: When I arrived at the scene, I was able to gather information about my victim, uh, Kenneth Koski Senior.

He was in his upper 50s.

Um, he lived alone.

He was a widower.

The neighborhood that this att*ck, this m*rder, took place in was a very comfortable, quiet neighborhood.

Officers had been called that evening in reference to activity which is, uh, very unusual for that area.

A neighbor had reported a white male wearing no shirt and dirty light-colored jeans outside of their residence.

It was then later, uh, discovered that another call had come in, um, two doors down from that original residence.

The husband then stepped out into the darkened hallway of the home and discovered what he described as a white male wearing no shirt, standing within the, uh, the living-room hallway of the residence... shouting to the homeowner, "I will k*ll you."

The intruder then went to the residence of Mr. Koski.

[ Doors banging, cups clattering ]

And then, the att*ck and the as*ault ensued.

What are you doing?!

[ Sternly ]Sit down. [ Groans ]

The att*ck itself was brutal.

Absolutely brutal.

Mr. Koski, fearing for his life, made a run for the front door.


[ Both grunting ]


[ Breathes raggedly, coughs ]

Mr. Koski, he's got blood in his eyes, blood in his face, he's scared to death, but it was apparent that he did attempt to flee.

The suspect then went to the closet, where he exposed two g*n.

Both w*apon were unloaded and therefore would not be able to be discharged.

[ Groaning ]

The suspect then drags him down that hallway towards the master bedroom.

The suspect then straddled Mr. Koski's body, and then, by way of a knife, s*ab Mr. Koski in the chest three different times.

Full-blown rage. Unadulterated.

[ Breathing heavily ]

Frascello: Joseph McGrotha was on a list of possible suspects in a homicide which occurred in Warner Robins, and Officer Soulis was unaware of this when he first confronted McGrotha.

Pete: Keep your hands up. Show me your hands, Joseph.

Where I can see 'em! I don't see your hands!

Show me your hands! Show me your hands!

Pete: In that kind of a situation, you revert back to your training, which is a good thing actually for me, 'cause my training went above and beyond, uh, the-the average officer.

It was like it happened yesterday.

I knew I had messed up.

I thought, "Pete, you got to move and sh**t now, or you're gonna die."

[ Police radio chatter ]

Higgs: Pete Soulis had a great reputation with the sheriff's office.

People knew him, knew he was a professional.

Well respected by his supervisors, well respected by his peers, trusted without question.

Frascello: He knew all the right things to say.

He knew how to handle himself, and there was never any doubt if Pete was there with you, you were covered.

Pete: Hands up, where I can see 'em.

Show me your hands.

Where I can see 'em! I don't see your hands!

Pete: If I had passed away on that particular evening, at least I would have had closure with my family.

In fact, this night, I got to go home and have dinner with my family.

Great! Sorry I missed it.

I promise you I'll be there on Saturday.

I got to tuck my kids in bed...

Night, sweetie.

Lindsay: Night.

...and, uh, kiss the wife goodbye.

You know, in police work, you don't get to do that very often.

It was like it happened yesterday.

I knew I had messed up.

I mean I knew I had put myself in a bad position.

The first round hit me d*ad center of the chest.

The first round is fired probably a foot and a half away from me.

It hit here.

It penetrated my vest and about four or five layers of Kevlar, where I had been sh*t at multiple times but I had never been hit.

I honestly thought that I was, uh, you know I thought I was bulletproof.

My next memory is, he is out of the car.

I know he's f*ring because that slide is moving slowly.

I mean, it's tracking to the rear and coming back forward, and every time it tracks to the rear, I can see a casing travel over his right shoulder.

So, I knew I was hit, but I didn't have any pain.

It was just an impact. It was like a slap.

Uh, and right behind it was another slap.

He fired, I think, three to four, maybe five rounds at this point.

I couldn't respond to this.

Physically, I was frozen in-in that spot, in that time.

In a stressful combat firefight like Pete was in that night, you have what we call an adrenaline dump, and you're only concentrating, you're only seeing what the thr*at is to you.

I counted one, two, three, and on the fourth casing is when I knew, "Pete, you got to move and sh**t now, or you're gonna die."

[ Shouts, grunts ]

We're f*ring back and forth at each other, and apparently I've hit him because he disappears for a second, and that's when I made the push to my car for cover.

By turning my back, it allowed him to stand and take two very good, well-placed shots.

He hit me in the back.

It just narrowly missed my vest, drove through my shoulder, and blew out my, uh, tricep area here.

[ Shouts, grunts ]

It did motivate me to get around that car pretty quick.

I wanted additional firepower that was in that trunk.

Pete: [ Breathing heavily ]

[ Shouting ]

And I could never get that key in.

It just wasn't happening.

[ Shouting ]

He was running back and forth from bumper to bumper.

He was screaming. I mean, he was just, he was in a rage.

I remember even shouting past him at one point, uh, as if I was talking to other officers on the scene...

Take cover. He's armed!

[ Laughing ]

...hoping that it would get his focus off me for a second.

It didn't work.

In fact, he was laughing at that.

[ Breathing heavily ]

But apparently, some of the rounds that I I fired at him did hit their mark.

One of them broke his wrist and went down and broke his elbow on the same arm, [ Shouts ]

So it made him a one-handed sh**t.

Apparently, he didn't train to be a one-handed sh**t, 'cause up to that point, he was pretty good with his hit ratio.

It really diminished his ability to be effective at that distance, and he was hitting everything but me.

It gave me just a-a brief moment to kind of take a breath and really get my faculties at that point.

That's when I got fixated on this wound that I took to the thigh.

It was spurting blood up onto my marked unit.

I knew that if it had hit a bleeder, a Major bleeder in my leg, I, you know, and I had 45 seconds on this earth.

You know, I'm gonna bleed out, and it's game over.

And that 45 seconds on this earth was gonna be, um -- I needed to get busy.

And at that point, I mean, everything switched.

He just didn't realize it.

Up to this point, I was a victim.

I didn't know how mobile I was gonna be, but my thought process was simply, "I'm not gonna leave this parking lot, but neither is he."
[ Police radio chatter ]

[ Camera shutter clicking ]

Earl: After the initiation of this m*rder investigation in Warner Robins, Georgia, we compiled a list of suspects, people who had been involved in various criminal activities, to include as*ault, robberies, burglaries, things of that nature.

Many of these suspects we felt could very possibly have been responsible for this incident.

Kenneth Koski lives a quiet, peaceful lifestyle...

[ Loud thud ]

...and then suddenly, he's awakened by a monster breaking into his home.

[ Doors banging, cups clattering ]

What are you doing?!

[ Sternly ] Sit down. [ Groans ]

Now he is a victim of this brutal, brutal att*ck that ultimately ends his life.

One of the pieces of evidence that we were able to gather at the scene was a shoe impression found at the back door of Mr Koski's residence.

[ Camera shutter clicks ]

During the crime scene processing, our crime scene investigator located within the home one cigarette butt.

Hey, Mike.

Might wanna check this out.

Found it right there.

Did you hear or see anything from the Koski residence?

Well, earlier in the night, I saw him out having a cigarette, which is pretty common.

Does he smoke outside a lot?

He never smoked in the house.

I felt that this cigarette had been smoked by my suspect once the suspect was inside the home.

I had opportunities to, uh, interview many, many people about anything that we thought might remotely lead us to determining who was responsible for Mr. Koski's death.

[ g*n ]

Pete: [ Breathing heavily ]

[ Breathing heavily ]

Pete: When I got behind my car, I could catch my breath.

I had already been hit five times.

The guy was smiling throughout this entire event.

It was like he was enjoying it.

I mean, I wasn't looking at the same guy.

I mean the guy that I had out of the car four, five minutes earlier, was very non-assuming, non-thr*at, just the -- the average Joe out there trying to get home.

This guy was not.

[ Screaming ]

Pete: He just was committed and was not -- he was not going to go down.

That's when I got fixated on this wound that I took to the thigh.

45 seconds is the length -- generally the length of time it will take if you sever that artery to go ash gray and be done.

To bleed out, totally.

Second thing that was glaringly apparent to me is that I could hear a woman screaming.

[ Woman screaming ]

I fired a lot of rounds at this point, and God forbid that I've got any collateral damage or I've hit an innocent.

Uh, you know, that was concerning.

[ Groaning ]

You know I'm not gonna let him leave to hurt anybody else.

A relative calm came over me.

All I knew is I had a time constraint now.

I said, okay, I've got 45 seconds at best, and I'm gonna leave cover, and I'm just gonna att*ck him.

You know, I'm already hit, and I'm gonna have to take the fight to him to end this.

He started out on this firefight with a -- with a black w*apon.

He now had a silver p*stol in his hands.

He had two w*apon in that car.

First thing I wanted to know is could I reload.

'Cause this guy was not going anywhere.

He did what we call a "Combat reload."

He kept f*ring and f*ring until he thought his magazine was about empty, he dropped that magazine out...

...and put another one in and kept f*ring at the suspect.

I put my chin over the w*apon, because I wanted to hear and feel that magazine seat.

I wanted to make sure that when I left cover and, you know, to att*ck this thr*at that, um, my magazine didn't fall out.

[ Groaning continues ]

And at that very moment, he left his cover.

Pete: I said, "Okay, I've got 45 seconds at best.

And I'm gonna leave cover, and I'm just gonna att*ck him."

At that very moment, he started to advance on me.

And I'm fairly certain I know why.

He saw that magazine hit the pavement, and he knew he had hit me multiple times.

And he probably felt like the officer's done or he's on the way out, and I'm going to k*ll him and get that...

I had his I.D. pinned to my lapel.

I think that's what he wanted.

That was his identification.

That was putting him at the scene.

I'm watching him come.

He is not in a hurry, he's just heel to toe walking directly at me.

And I'll never forget that I could see the hair on his legs.

That's the kind of focus you have at this point.

That was probably the hardest part of this whole incident is having to stand there and tell myself not to move, to wait.

And he stopped just right in front of my car.

Ah! Aah!


That's when the smile left his face.

He backed up, and he went airborne, and went right over the back of his car.

[ Breathing heavily ]

I knew without a doubt I had hit him multiple times.

Honestly, I thought I had Freddy Krueger on my hands, you know, because this guy just will not go down.

He was now a mobile thr*at, in a motor vehicle, and I had to stop him.

As he starts his car, he puts his hand back on that w*apon, but that gave me an opportunity to get a two-handed grip on my w*apon and squeeze off two well-placed shots.

[ Horn honks ]

[ Groans ]

He lunged forward into the steering wheel, and then he straightens himself up, he fixes his hat, rearms himself and places the car in gear.

I am putting all my rounds through a hole about that size through the back windshield.

It's 8, 9, 10, 11 rounds in about 3 seconds.

He has thrown his car into drive, and the car lurches forward, and it impacts that fence and just rests there.

I could hear what we refer to as that death gargle.

[ Gargling ]

It's just the air is leaking out of the lungs.

And I knew that the life is leaving from him at this point.

H.Q., this is Golf 3-34. I've been 18'd.

I've been sh*t.

I have enough sense at that point that I'm not gonna escalate and move to the vehicle.

I'm calling this in.

I'm just gonna hold what I got and be thankful I've got that.

We have that responsibility you know to get him help, too.

So that's what I did, I called rescue for both of us at that point.

Told them that I had been sh*t, indicated that he had been sh*t.

I needed backup and rescue on the scene immediately.

And I'm just catching my breath.

And it's a minute and a half of exertion.

And then I look left and see what appears to be a white male running across the street at me full speed.

Hey, man, are you okay?

I saw that whole thing.

Sorry, dude.

I was just trying to see if you were all right.

It was a family that had pulled over with an infant in the car.

They had a flat tire.

That's the woman that was screaming during the firefight.

[ Woman screaming ]

He had exited the car to get that tire changed, and when the g*n started, she would've had a -- she would've had a direct visual into the firefight itself, so she made a decision.

She looked back at her husband, and then she looked at the infant.

And her job was to protect the infant, and I've been told that she jumped in the passenger -- from the passenger seat to the driver's seat and left the scene.

Left her husband with the spare tire at the scene.

I turned my concentration back on the car, and, understand, I didn't know if I'd be standing much longer anyway.

This round that hit me in the vest is k*lling me.

I ripped my uniform shirt open.

I pulled that vest back, and I looked, and I was wearing a white T-shirt, and I can remember this is about the only point in the firefight where my knees got weak because my whole chest was covered in blood.

[ Sirens wailing ]

On the police radio, we heard an officer scream.

How many times you been sh*t?

Five times. Five times.

Sandy: Sheryl? Pete's been sh*t.

On the police radio, we heard an officer scream.

Pete came up on the radio and said, "I've been 18'd."

We translated it real quick. "I've been sh*t."

When that comes up on the radio, things change in a hurry.

[ Chuckles ] They really do.

If Pete Soulis was in trouble, it was a bad deal.

[ Sirens wailing ]

There's not a policeman out there that doesn't know how fast his police car'll go, right?

Sometime midnight shift... Somewhere he's found out.

I knew how fast my car went. 120, maybe.

And I look down as I crossed Bay Meadows Road, and it was reading 131 miles an hour.

Now I've never had it explained to me how that car ran 10 miles an hour faster that night than it ever had.

Something else was pushing.

Pete: You know, I thought the vest had failed.

You know, I thought the round had penetrated and gone right in my chest.

So I reached my hand in there to feel the wound, and I, and I realized that no, it was not.

The vest did its job, thank goodness.

You know, it was just a bad abrasion.

I could hear units coming 360.

I mean you could hear 'em miles away, and I, I mean I can't explain, and words don't describe the, uh, relief of having your people coming to you like that.

I had seen him earlier in the evening.

I was probably less than a half a mile away from him when we discovered it was probably him.

I was the first one to arrive on the scene.

[ Sirens wailing ]

Pete, how many times you been sh*t?

sh*t me, five -- five times. Five times.

Pete was really angry is what he was.

He was just ready to control the situation.

At that point, I had no idea what had happened.

I had, uh...

I knew from what I saw, that Pete had been sh*t.

All right, all right, now you need to calm down.

Now where's the suspect?

He's in the car. He's in the car.

All right. All right.

All right.

[ Sirens continue ]

[ Police radio chatter ]

[ Sighs ] Keep an eye on the suspect.

[ Breathing heavily ]

H.Q., 2-34. sh*t in the arm and legs.

Send rescue.

The suspect, when I saw him, was laid over in the front seat of his car.

Once I saw him and looked in the side of the car that -- that in listening or hearing the breaths, that this was, that he wasn't going to survive.

People started arriving at that point.

Leaptrott: I responded to where he was of course, the immediate concern was how is he, and, you know, is he okay?

[ Breathing rapidly ]

Looks like you got into some action.

Pete! Hey Pete.

Chest. Forearm, shoulder.

Where else?

My phone.

Uh, it's -- it's in the car. I need to call Sheryl.

Frascello: Pete had been sh*t several times, but he was still standing and, uh, being the -- the tough guy he was, he refused to lay on the gurney for the rescue unit that arrived.

I had my faculties to the point that I knew there were several things I wanted to do.

Number one, I wanted to call my wife.

[ Telephone rings ]

Sheryl: [ Sighs ]

Your wife is trying to study, Officer Soulis.

Pete: Hey babe.

I wanted to call you before you heard it on the news.

He called and, um, and I was slightly annoyed because he knew I was studying for my midterms.

I'm okay. But I've been sh*t.

The crew's going to take me to the hospital.

And I thought he was messing with me, 'cause Pete is always messing with me.

And it was just absolute silence on the phone, and I'm actually looking for a little sympathy here, you know, and I'm not getting it.


What, did you sh**t yourself?


Hi, Sheryl.

Sandy, hi. What's going on?

She asked me if I'd sh*t myself and was too embarrassed to call anybody else but her.

Yeah, Pete's okay. Um, he's been sh*t.

Rescue's here, we're going to send someone to pick you up, okay?

That's when the reality of the fact that Pete had actually really been sh*t -- um, I was trying to grasp that.

I don't know how to explain it, but its like I feel frozen, and the whole room is moving around me, its almost like spinning.

Five minutes after that phone call was made, there was a unit at my house picking her up and driving her to the hospital.

When I was behind the car, I honestly felt like this wound in the thigh was a -- a fatal wound.

What had happened is that round had hit a quarter and had bent that quarter in half and driven the quarter and the projectile through my leg, and the muscle would spasm.

It would fill with blood, spasm.

That's where I was getting leakage.

They just got me to the hospital as quick as they could.

I didn't lay down. I sat on the gurney.

I just was not sure I was gonna be able to get back up.

Until I got to the hospital, you know, I-I really wasn't sure if I was gonna make it.

What mattered to me that I was alive and that I was gonna be able to go home to my family and that, uh, he wasn't going to be able to hurt anybody any more.

And that was really my primary concern at that point.

You're not expecting to have to use deadly force.

You know, and you may go 25 years and never get involved in it, or you may walk out today and, as soon as you come out of the parking lot, you're in it.

It's that dynamic, and it's that spontaneous.

The suspect that sh*t Pete died in the front seat of his car.

Suspect's name in this incident was a Joseph McGrotha.

And he was from Warner Robins, Georgia.

That particular evening on that -- that October night, we were trying to figure, "Why is this guy here?"

[ Telephone rings ]

Earl: We received a phone call from investigators from Jacksonville, Florida, after I was assigned a homicide investigation, uh, concerning the death of Kenneth Koski.

The investigators had advised that one of their police officers had been involved in a sh**ting incident with a citizen from Warner Robins.

What's the name?

My first thought was I pray that the officer is all right.

My second thought would be, "Why in the world would one of our citizens, a Warner Robins citizen, be involved in such activity?"

Earl: Joseph McGrotha had stated that he would never go back to prison again no matter what.

Even if it involved taking the life of a police officer and fleeing the scene.

[ Telephone rings ]

This is Detective Mike Earl.

Mr. McGrotha would be someone that we would want to interview, to determine could he have possibly been involved in our m*rder.

His rap sheet included theft and burglary and things of that nature, and he resided within proximity to where our incident in Warner Robins had taken place.

It was learned that Mr. McGrotha attended a party.

This party was located at a local bar within Warner Robins, which was also within, uh, somewhat close proximity to where Mr. Koski lived.

It was said that Mr. McGrotha was one of the last to leave the party.

He had become highly intoxicated.

As he walked home, he did jump a fence.

His favorite T-shirt got hung up on the fence and tore as he jumped to the ground.

Joseph now is in an apparent rage.

He is intoxicated to the point that he does not have a good grasp of his conduct.

He is using aggression that is just for whatever reason built up through the years, or whatever time period, and now has just now exploded out into the community.

And now he is confronted by a homeowner who has the audacity to question his activities.

What are you doing?!

Sit down.

[ Groans ]

The m*rder, I think it was out of a drunken rage.

It was a -- an act of spontaneous v*olence.

I don't believe he planned it.

I think it just happened.

He then traveled to Cocoa Beach, Florida, where he stayed in a hotel or motel at that location.

Mr. McGrotha then traveled north on 95.

He stopped at a location in Jacksonville, where he pulled his car up to a phone booth.

[ Police radio chatter ]

Pete: The suspect, he'd done some prison time, um, this guy had a fairly lengthy criminal record, and I -- I had no knowledge of this.

Pete: Jacksonville Sheriff.

Sit up right now and show me your hands!

It makes sense that he would pull over where he did, because he could -- he'd have a good visual of that sandwich shop, which they get robbed all the time.

And the Interstate being on his left, uh, I do believe he was in the car getting his liquid courage.

He was gonna finish that beer. He was gonna exit that car.

He was probably gonna rob that sandwich shop, run back across Emerson Street, be in his car, and be on the Interstate and in Georgia in about 15 minutes.

What is embarrassing for me actually is that I didn't see that.

I mean, I didn't put two and two together.

Here's what I want you to do.

I want you to go sit back in the car.

I want you to dump the beer on the ground.

I want you to wait there till I get back.

He was under the assumption that I went back and ran his driver's license.


This is Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Golf 2-34.

I need a 28-29 on a Joseph McGrotha.

Man: 2-34, be advised. NCIC is currently down.

Frascello: When he checked his I.D. through National Crime Information Center, NCIC was down at the time, and nothing was able to be found about McGrotha.

Little did he know that that's, uh, that's all he had to do, was [chuckles] be patient and sit still, and he could've been down the road.

Him knowing what he knew and me not knowing who he was...

That I.D. was very important to him, so, that would explain his actions at the car, you know those -- that would explain his -- his att*ck.

I think that Mr. McGrotha felt that law enforcement must be savvy to the fact or aware of the fact that he had in fact been involved in a m*rder in Warner Robins, Georgia, and he had stated to his friends and his family previously that he would not go back to jail no matter what even if it involved taking the life of a police officer and fleeing the scene.

Keep your hands up. Show me your hands, Joseph.

Where I can see 'em! I don't see your hands!

Show me your hands, show me your hands!

Pete: So when I appeared at the window, I was a thr*at to him.

I was prison. I was incarceration.

And he wasn't going to put up with that.

He put five rounds on me before I got a single sh*t off on him.

Those five rounds motivated me to keep just -- it just, it lit my f*re.

I was prepared to go at -- go with him -- all the way to the end.

And, um, I don't think he was expecting that.

[ Police radio chatter ]

[ Sirens wailing ]

Frascello: On the night of October 19th of '97 at approximately 10:00, I heard a call go out that an officer had been sh*t, and I responded to the scene.

It was a gas station that was closed up at that time of night, and it was right beside a Major highway in Jacksonville, Florida.

My role at that scene was to document the scene itself -- the entire scene.

To document the location of every piece of evidence, to document them with measurements, as well as photography.

You could tell by the placement of the casings that there was a lot of movement around on Pete and the victim's part of the sh**t.

I also found two 9mm, semi-a*t*matic g*n in the suspect's vehicle.

One of 'em, I do recall had the hammer back on it, and it was ready to f*re.

There was even blood from the suspect on the hubcap of the tire that he was crouched behind when he was sh**ting at Pete, which indicated to me that Pete had already hit him at least one time.

I could take every piece of that evidence and put it exactly back where it was that night, even though it was 17 years ago.

That's what these scenes do.

All your evidence tells the story.

[ Telephone rings ]

This is Detective Mike Earl.

Earl: When we received the name of Joseph McGrotha as being the citizen from Georgia that had been involved in this police sh**ting, I traveled to Jacksonville, met with the investigators, had the opportunity to view the evidence.

We located a pair of boots that I believed to have been responsible for leaving the pattern in the shoe impression at the back door of Mr. Koski's house.

We were able to meet with the medical examiner.

She was able to provide us a vial of blood that we could then use for potential DNA evidence, uh, that we found on the cigarette left within Mr. Koski's home.

Hey Mike.

You might want to check this out.

As a result of the evidence discovered, we believed we very possibly did have the person identified that was responsible for this m*rder.

Approximately six months later, the Georgia bureau of investigation crime lab contacted our department and confirmed with conclusive evidence analysis there would have been a one in one billion chance that someone other than Joseph McGrotha had smoked that cigarette that was left within the Koski home.

Joseph McGrotha, beyond a doubt, was the person that committed the m*rder of Kenneth Koski in Georgia.

I'm very sorry for the Koski family.

You know, he was living his normal, peaceful life.

An exemplary neighbor, uh, retired Air Force, a widower, a father of three grown children that were living very successful lives.

And just living a good quality life that was suddenly disrupted in his sleep and ultimately ended.

Frascello: I have been involved in investigating many police-involved sh**t and I had never been to one with this many shots fired.

Pete: Out of the 15 he fired, 5 hit me, and the other hit the building and the vehicle around me.

This firefight went on for a minute and a half.

That's a long time for shots to be going on.

I think statistically, most g*n last, you know, like 3 to 5 seconds, and it's over with.

And shots fired, maybe 5 to 6.

In a deadly force incident as a law enforcement officer, right or wrong, you're initially listed as a homicide suspect.

Every inch of the crime scene is looked over and over and over again to make sure that it -- this sh**ting was done justifiably.

I mean he could've faced prison time for that matter if it wasn't justifiable.

Frascello: The evidence tells the story.

The evidence will either prove or disprove one version or the other of a story, and all the shell casings from the suspect's g*n, as opposed to Pete's g*n, matched the story, which told us there was a sh**ting back-and-forth this way.

The conclusion of the investigation was it was a justifiable homicide.

I knew everything I did was justified.

I have got in this profession for the right reason.

I'm not going to jeopardize myself or a citizen or an innocent.

Uh, I just know that's who I am, so if I have to act on it, I'm definitely going to be justified when I do it.

And I have no problems going home and sleeping with that.

[ Police radio chatter ]

My phone. It's -- it's in the car.

I need to call Sheryl.

Sheryl: I don't think Pete ever feared for his life.

I don't think he was thinking about himself other than assessing, um, his wounds so that he could actually, um, do what he felt like he needed to do which was, you know, stop this person from hurting anyone else.

Well, he didn't have any surgery, and they didn't, um, put any stitches in.

I guess the wounds, uh -- wounds like that have to heal from the inside out.

[ Sighs ]


Well, what are you gonna do now?

What do you mean?

What kind of job are you going to find?

[ Scoffs ]

What are you talking about?

You're not going back to work now?

As soon as I can, I am.

Look I don't mean to worry you...

[ Police radio chatter ]

I was back to work in about two to three weeks.


And right back at it.

Pete is that type of guy.

He loved police work, and he wanted to be back at work.

And he did it. It's amazing.

The first time I saw him was back in patrol, and that was a good day.

We hugged.

He's my hero, okay? [ Laughs ]

Pete: I walked into a situation that was...

I had no earthly idea till it wa-- till it was on me, I didn't know.

And I was absolutely caught off guard.

It was complacency that kind of put me in this position that I was in on that evening.

I made those approaches and subconsciously I'm seeing red flags, I'm seeing things that are telling me, "Hey this isn't right."

But I didn't act on it.

Shame on me, you know, I should know better.

Fortunately, because of my training, I was able to recover and survive this incident.

You know it's -- it helps me every time I talk about it.

It brings me right back to that moment where I can see it and I can smell it.

I get a little bit emotional from time to time, because of, you know, my children.

I could've missed seeing my son playin' ball and goin' to school and meetin' girls and my daughter meetin' her husband and havin' her first child.

I've got my first grandchild now, and, you know, all those things really bring you back to home.

I feel that I survived it for a reason, and, uh, that reason is to train law enforcement, you know, in the hope they don't have to suffer what I suffered through.

Everything changed that night in that regard.

My entire focus was to stay operational, but it was also to pass on the lesson learned.

I always advocate that if you're involved in one of these situations, as horrible as it is, you need to talk about it, and you need to share what you did right and what you did wrong.

I'm a firearms trainer, nationally and internationally.

I train law enforcement and military, and I bring my experiences, my 30 years of law-enforcement experience.

And that's kind of like my life mission at this point.

I, you know, I...

I have a passion for getting in front of younger law enforcement and military people and explaining exactly what those dynamics are, uh, when you're involved in a life-and-death situation of a firefight.

I've got to see my children grow up.

I'm now a grandfather.

I'm still happily married to the same young lady.

She has put up with me for 30 years.

That woman deserves [chuckles]

A -- you know, she deserves a medal.

When you're married to a police officer, you know, when they go out the door, you know, they're out there on our streets to keep us safe every day.

So you just always have to appreciate every day and every moment that you have.

I have been blessed beyond pale.

I have been able to do things, and I can tell you honestly I know that I've saved lives by passing on outstanding information to people that need to know it.

I had to earn it through experience. And I know it's making a difference. And by giving these people truth, I know it greatly enhances their ability to win and then go home to their families. And that's what I choose to do till I physically can't do it any longer.
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