UPDATED 11:28 AM PT — Monday, June 15, 2020
Friends and family are mourning the death of Florida wildlife officer Julian Keen Jr. According to reports, Keen was off-duty when he was shot and killed early Sunday while trying to stop a hit-and-run driver near Labelle.
Authorities confirmed three people have been taken into custody and are being questioned. Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden said they will do everything they can to bring those responsible to justice. He also added that he’s known Keen since he was 10-years-old and said he was a role model for the community.
“He was a dear friend of mine, we considered him family, he was our brother,” Whidden stated. “Julian was an absolutely role model to everyone here…this was a heart breaker.”
State records show Keen had been with the Fish & Wildlife Conservation (FWC) Commission since 2016. The FWC released a statement confirming Keen’s death and said their thoughts are with his friends as well as his family during this difficult time.
Senator Rubio and Mrs. Rubio offer their prayers and sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Commission Officer Julian Keen Jr. and express their gratitude for Officer Keen's dedicated and brave service to his community. https://t.co/y5PSAAD17p
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) June 15, 2020
The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit is leading the investigation with assistance from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.