By Tamas Mondovics
The support and generosity of the Brandon and surrounding area communities is as strong as it was five years ago, following the tragic death of 27-year veteran Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ronald “Ron” Harrison, 55, who was killed on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 by a gunman, while sitting in his patrol car on his way home from work.
In remembrance of Harrison’s life, the public was invited to the 6th Annual Ride for Ron motorcycle ride that began at the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge #108, located at 9001 N. Taylor Rd. in Seffner, and made its way through the Ron Harrison Memorial Intersection located at Kings Ave. and Lumsden Rd. followed by a stop at Brandon Harley Davidson before turning around and ending back at the FOP.
According to victim’s advocate, Becky Gage, with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) Hillsborough County, the ride not only remembers the life of the man who spearheaded the effort of bringing an end to drunk driving in the area, but also to raise awareness of the dangers that local officers face daily as they don their uniform. “This is a wonderful way of keeping Ron’s memory alive while raising awareness of the terrible consequences of driving under the influence,” Gage said,
On August 15th, 2007, Harrison was sitting in his patrol car near the intersection of Lumsden Road and Kings Avenue in Brandon, when a suspect approached his vehicle and fired into the car through the open passenger side window, striking Harrison multiple times. He later died at Brandon Regional Hospital.
A short time later, a woman called 911 saying that her boyfriend may have been involved in the shooting of a deputy and was at a home. A SWAT team then converged on the home and negotiations began with the suspect. The suspect fired multiple shots at the SWAT team, who then returned fire, killing him.
While his death was tragic, his love of helping others and caring for his community will live on. “I hope that this annual event will continue,” Gage said, adding that each year the ride benefits MADD through a generous donation that reaches close to $500.
For more information about MADD Hillsborough County please visit www.madd.org.