State leaders offered their thoughts, prayers and condolences Monday to the family of a murdered Florida wildlife officer who was killed early Sunday.
Julian Keen, 30, was fatally shot when he tried to stop a hit-and-run driver while off-duty in the city of Labelle. Keen was a six year veteran of the force.
“Truly heartbreaking,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “Yesterday, FWC Officer Julian Keen was fatally shot in Hendry County. Justin and I are praying for his family and all of the law enforcement community in Florida.
Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried described the murder as a “senseless act of violence.”
“My heart goes out his family and my thoughts are with FWC,” Fried said. “I hope justice is delivered swiftly in light of this tragedy.”
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami Dade called for justice for Keen.
“Heartbroken to learn that FWC officer Julian Keen Jr. was shot and killed this morning in LaBelle, FL,” Diaz-Balart said. “My prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends. Those responsible must and will be brought to justice.”
Hendry County Sheriff Steven Whidden described Keen as family.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of FWC Officer Keen. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, members of FWC, friends and community”, Whidden said. “We will do everything we can to bring about justice to those guilty in his shooting death. We all knew Officer Keen, and he wasn’t only our brother in blue-but a role model for the community, he will be missed.”
The Florid Highway Patrol Command Officer Association asked for prayer for Keen’s family and “law enforcement everywhere.”
“He was a genuine officer who would literally give his shirt off his back to ANYONE who needed it,” the organization said, emphasis theirs. “Please pray for his family and law enforcement everywhere as we face these troubling times. John 15:13 – ‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.'”
As of Monday, three men are in custody in connection to Keen’s death.
Those with information are encouraged to contact the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at (863) 674-0406.