Twenty-four-year-old CO James Perrine III of and 50-year-old Lt. John Churilla were both injured. Officer Perrine was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital, while Lt. Churilla drove to Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte, where he was treated and released. Perrine remains in serious condition. The two officers, who were off duty, were in separate vehicles and stopped to help another motorist who had had an accident.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, while the officers were helping the motorist, a pickup truck (possibly a dark colored Chevy) hit the disabled vehicle and then struck Perrine as he tried to get out of the way. The unidentified pickup truck’s driver then sped away. His or her vehicle may have front end damage.
“These officers are very important to us. If there is anyone out there who can help the authorities find the person who committed this heinous crime please come forward as soon as possible. Officer Perrine is in serious condition and his family asks that we keep him in our prayers.” said Charlotte CI Warden Adro Johnson. The family has requested that friends refrain from calling at this time, to allow family members access via the phone lines.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Florida Highway Patrol Regional Communications Center at (239) 938-1800 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 780-TIPS.
Perinne was hired in trainee status in May 2007 and became a certified officer in March 2008. Churilla has been at Charlotte CI since December 1993, and was promoted to Lieutenant in November 2004. Both have spent their careers at Charlotte CI.