Detective David White Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Florida End of Watch: Thursday, February 16, 2012

Detective David White | Clay County Sheriff's Office, FloridaClay County Sheriff's Office, Florida

Detective David White

Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
End of Watch: Thursday, February 16, 2012

Biographical Info

Age: 35
Tour of Duty: 9 years
Badge Number: 6518

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: February 16, 2012
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Shot and killed

Agency Contact Information

Sheriff Rick Beseler
Clay County Sheriff’s Office
PO Box 548
Green Cove Springs, FL 32043
Phone: (904) 264-6512

Detective David White was shot and killed during a raid of a suspected drug house on the 4800 block of Alligator Boulevard, in Middleburg, at approximately 6:30 p.m. The home was occupied by six squatters who were using it as a meth lab.
As Detective White and another detective approached the front door one of the occupants immediately opened fire, striking both of them. The subject then ran through the home and tried to flee through a back door, where he encountered another deputy who fatally shot him.
The five other occupants of the home were taken into custody.
Detective White was a military veteran and served with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office for nine years. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Loving family man. Great neighbor. Devoted patriot. Dedicated public servant. Top-notch cop.

First Coast native David Adam White was that and then some well before a gunman protecting a meth lab took the Clay County detective’s life Thursday night. It was the first death committed by a criminal on a Clay deputy in 99 years.

A review of White’s Sheriff’s Office personnel file tells part of his story. So does neighbor Michele Thompson, who’s known the father of two for about five years. White and his wife, Jennifer, have a 4-year-old daughter and 5-month-old son.

Thompson describes the Whites as "nice, good people who anyone would want as a friend or a neighbor."

"He’s just an all-around great guy," said Thompson, 42, who lives two houses from White on a private, sandy road north of Green Cove Springs. "They’re very family-oriented. I think that was always his top priority, just from the vibes I got from him."

And listen to David Ratliff, who served with White in Iraq in the Army Reserves.

“He was the type of solider who always put the needs of the country first before his own,” Ratliff said. “He was extremely patriotic.”

Sheriff Rick Beseler spoke for White’s many co-workers, who consoled each other and White’s family privately.

"He was just one of the finest officers and military men that I’ve ever met," Beseler said. "He was just an unbelievably nice individual that we will sorely miss."

White, 35, was born in Jacksonville and later moved to Clay County. He graduated from Middleburg High School in 1995, a notation made in a memorial on the school’s marquee this morning.

His police personnel file shows he joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1996 and became a military police officer and platoon commander. He spent a short stint serving in Bosnia in support of Operation Joint Guard from August 1997 to April 1998.

He attended St. Johns River Community College and then graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2001 with a criminal justice degree.

He joined the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in 2002, then took leave to serve as a military policeman during the initial stages of the Iraq war during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

While in the Reserves, White received a series of medals and ribbons including the War on Terrorism Service Medal and a Sharpshooter badge with a proficiency in the use of rifles and grenades. He served in Iraq and Kuwait from May 2003 to June 2004. He left the Reserves as a corporal.

Ratliff, a staff sergeant with the 351st Military Police Detachment 1 in Jacksonville, served with White in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.  He lost touch with him until just recently, when they both reconnected on Facebook.

Ratliff, 39, said White had good sense of humor and was always upbeat when they served together. He called White a good friend and devoted soldier.

"He was always a treat to be around," Ratliff said.

White rejoined the Sheriff’s Office later that year. He worked in various positions including patrol and the investigations unit, most recently serving in the narcotics section. Beseler said White was a humble deputy who shied away from attention, but always sought to be on the front line in the fight against crime.

"He was so anxious to be out there in the thick of things," Beseler said.

White’s file includes a number of letters of commendation and awards.

Most recently White was named the deputy of the month of the Sheriff’s Office operations bureau in August 2011.

The award, given by Sheriff Rick Beseler, recognized him for his work investigating a pain-management clinic in Orange Park. The lengthy investigation led to a series of arrests and the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Beseler and White’s superiors recognized him for his “professionalism and teamwork” in what was the first investigation of its magnitude for Clay’s narcotics unit.

He also was recognized for his work locating and dismantling meth labs, the 2009 traffic stop of suspects later charged in a burglary and as part of a team that set a new section record for clearing cases, including numerous burglaries, in 2008.

White’s work with the community stands out in an email in 2005 by a man who was having trouble with a prowler in his neighborhood. The writer, Elbert McCall, praised White for acting professionally and being a patient listener.

“He has helped renew my faith in the Sheriff’s Department,” McCall wrote.

Also in 2005 a woman called the Sheriff’s Office to commend White after a neighbor attacked her dog. The victim praised White for staying with her and following up on the incident the next day. And in 2004 a woman wrote a letter thanking White for his kindness in helping her fix a flat tire.

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Mary Justino said this morning that White’s family is asking for people to respect their privacy. No family spokesperson has been chosen to speak on his behalf.

Cars came and went along the dirt road leading to the house. A sergeant outside the home politely told a reporter "now isn’t the time" for anyone in the family to speak publicly.

Beseler described White’s tight-knit family as very distraught. He met with them at Orange Park Medical Center Thursday night after White was transported there.

"They are absolutely destroyed over this," Beseler said. "This is going to be something they’ll never recover from. It’s hard to describe the pain and anguish that I saw."

Outside Clay County Transmission, a business near White’s home, the marquee read: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the CCSO (Clay County Sheriff’s Office) and the White family." Next door, at the county’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, a group of officers and others gathered outside quietly at 1 p.m. for a remembrance of White. A deputy on the property said no one was ready to talk.

A somber Beseler bowed his head and clasped his hands in front of him during a moment of silence observed at the Sheriff’s Office this morning.

At his afternoon press conference, Beseler noted that White took pride serving as the bugler in the Sheriff’s Office honor guard. He also recalled how his uniform was always immaculate and how he always saluted with perfection. Beseler recalled one salute in particular.

"I told him later on, I said, ‘I can tell the guys who are former military. When you render that salute, you do it the right way.’ He smiled and beamed with pride," Beseler said. "He knew how to give a good salute."

Thompson, the neighbor, said another neighbor told her this morning about White’s death.

"I said, ‘Damn. Damn, damn, damn.’ I was just in shock," Thompson said. "To lose such a good person is very sad."

Former battlefield companion Ratliff said he was left speechless when he learned about White’s death, also this morning.

"We are losing an outstanding former soldier, and outstanding deputy sheriff, father and husband," Ratliff said. "The world now is a lesser place because of what this [killer] did and took from us."

A viewing for White will be held on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Russell Haven of Rest Funeral Home at 2335 Sandridge Road, Green Cove Springs. The funeral will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Middleburg at 2645 Blanding Blvd, Middleburg. Burial will immediately follow the funeral service at the Russell Haven of Rest Funeral Home.

The Sheriff’s Office plans to provide a map of the funeral route Saturday once it is finalized.

Donations to assist White’s family can be made at the Heritage Bank of Orange Park in the name of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Humanitarian Fund, account number 1520387212.


1 Response to “Detective David White Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Florida End of Watch: Thursday, February 16, 2012”

  1. 1 karen February 27, 2012 at 10:09

    i love u even though i dont know u plz r,i,p u are the bravest fag iv ever nown

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