A South Florida police officer was arrested Sunday after his stepson called and reported that the officer was threatening to commit a murder/suicide – while pointing a loaded firearm at his stepson.
The arrest report states that Officer Patrick Gravelle, 41, had been threatening his wife and stepson with a loaded gun. Gravelle reportedly pointed the firearm at his stepson while ordering him to leave the house. According to his wife, this was not the first time that the officer had threatened his family with the firearm.
In fact, in a previous incident with his wife, the Sunrise police officer “threatened to shoot her, kill her, dump her body in the Everglades and then kill himself while pointing a gun at her chest.”
His wife also showed the officers bruising from an incident earlier in the week where he was pinching her as a form of punishment.
She told the responding officers that she never called 911 as she was afraid of what her husband might do if she had.
The officer reportedly admitted to “clipping the gun on his belt,” because his stepson “began to aggressively come towards him,” but he denied pointing the weapon at him. He also claimed that his stepson takes steroids.
Gravelle’s wife told the responding deputies that she “is deathly afraid” of her husband and believes he “will kill her if and when he gets out of jail,” local station WPLG reported.
He was released on bail the following afternoon.
The officer is suspended with pay and has been ordered to stay away from his wife. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that a court order would stop someone intent on a murder/suicide.
Just last month we reported on the horrific case of Sergeant Phillip Seidle, a 22-year veteran of the Neptune Police Department in New Jersey who chased down his ex wife with his vehicle as their 7-year-old daughter was in his passenger seat. The out-of-control officer then proceeded to do the unthinkable. He smashed his vehicle into his ex-wife’s so that his daughter would be only feet away when he stepped out of his car and proceeded to repeatedly shoot her mother in front of her.
The officer then held the weapon to his head until his cop buddies could talk him down and he was taken into custody.
The National Center for Women and Policing reports that domestic violence is two to four times more common among law enforcement families than American families in general. The organization points to two studies, indicating that as many as 40 percent of law enforcement families have a problem with domestic violence.
“Victims often fear calling the police, because they know the case will be handled by officers who are colleagues and/or friends of their abuser. Victims of police family violence typically fear that the responding officers will side with their abuser and fail to properly investigate or document the crime,” they point out in their police family violence fact sheet.
LifeSpan’s Police Domestic Violence Program (known as S.A.B.L.E.) is a unique project that provides specialized counseling, legal, and advocacy services for victims whose abusers are police or other law enforcement personnel. They can be reached online or by calling 1-847-824-4454.