DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — The former colleagues of a Florida Panhandle corrections officer slain in a gunbattle with an ex-convict say he was dedicated to his family and his fellow officers.
Col. Greg Malloy, a canine officer with the Corrections Department in Holmes County, died Wednesday when he and other officers exchanged fire with Wade Andrew Williams in a wooded area near Gritney. His funeral will be today.
Malloy insisted on joining his men in the hunt for Williams, which was unusual for an officer of his rank, said Holmes Correctional Institution Warden John Whitfield.
Whitfield said Malloy walked into his office with his fatigues under his arm and said, "Boss, I've got to go with them. This is a dangerous run and they're my men and I need to be with them. We've got to get Williams locked up before he kills someone else."
"Normally a colonel doesn't tell the warden what he is going to do, but that is how strongly he felt about his responsibility to his men on that day," Whitfield said.
According to the other canine team members, Malloy constantly cautioned them about staying safe during their run through the woods tracking Williams, Whitfield said.
Authorities in three states had been searching for Williams, 35, since his parents were found dead in their Cottondale home last week.
Williams also was killed in Wednesday's shootout. Police said he ambushed the officers tracking him after he wounded a hunter who came across his campfire.
Another officer, Arthur Teal, was wounded. Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil said Teal has been released from the hospital.
Malloy had been a corrections officer since 1988. He was promoted to colonel in July.
The former warden at the Holmes County prison says Malloy used to stand at the front gate twice a day to greet staff members coming on duty or leaving for home.
He even got the heads of other departments at the prison to stand with him on different days, said Mary Ellen Dayan, who is now retired.
"Line staff became used to having a chance to speak with him each day or just to say, 'Hi,' and he had a remark or kind word for every one of them," Dayan said.
It has been a deadly year for law enforcement officers around the country and especially in Florida, where two St. Petersburg police officers and two Miami-Dade County detectives died in two separate shootings last month.