HENDRY COUNTY — A man is now in jail in connection with the shooting death of a Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission officer.
The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office has charged 20-year-old Eliceo Hernandez with Negligent Homicide in the death of officer Julian Keen. Meanwhile, a memorial for Keen is continuing to grow as more and more people pay their respects.
As people visited the site where he died Monday, emotions ran high. A woman, who said she was Keen’s landlord, recalled learning of his death from her daughter.
“She said mom I’m serious. I don’t want you to hear it from anybody else. I just did a lot of screaming," said Terrie Pearce.
Pearce said she and Keen became very close over the years.
“He became like a son to me. He was always coming over and doing things. When Hurricane Irma came, he came over and cranked my generator, brought fuel, and he wouldn’t take any money," said Pearce.
“Nobody deserves to die like this," said Erika Garcia.
Garcia came to remember Keen because her husband knew him well. She said losing him is a loss for the whole community.
“I just want to say sorry to his family. He’s in a better place now," said Garcia.
The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office said Keen’s killer, 20-year-old Eliceo Hernandez, is in jail on a $500,000 bond. Keen followed Hernandez because he was reportedly driving recklessly. When they pulled over, the confrontation ended in a shooting.
“Who’s going to kill somebody so popular, so friendly, so wonderful?" said Pearce.
That’s the question many in the LaBelle community will be asking in the days to come.
Three people were originally arrested in connection with Keen’s death, but the Sheriff’s Office tells us only Hernandez is still in custody.