Monday, October 11, 2010

$ 267,000 Reward Offered for Info on Slaying of Beloved Officer

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Three years have passed since Sergeant Christopher Reyka was murdered
by Robert A. Waters

A recent newspaper article reported that in the last three decades, 180,000 murders have gone unsolved in the United States. In some cases, investigators claim to know the killer but don’t have enough evidence to charge him or her. In other instances, the perpetrator is unknown. Either way, thousands of murderers get away with their crimes every year. In this sad case, a highly respected officer was gunned down while going about his duty. To date, no one has been charged with the brutal crime.

At about 1:15 a.m., on August 10, 2007, Broward County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Christopher Reyka pulled his cruiser behind Walgreens Pharmacy at 960 South Pompano Parkway in Pompano Beach, Florida. In the shadows, Sgt. Reyka noticed two cars idling. His suspicions aroused, he ran Florida license tag number F168UJ and found that the plate had been stolen.

Three months earlier, a gang of robbers had begun targeting twenty-four hour pharmacies in the area. Taken during the heists were prescription drugs which are easily sold on the street.

Although no one except the killers saw what happened next, several citizens called 911 reporting gunfire in the area. When deputies arrived on the scene, they found Sgt. Reyka slumped beside his car. Ten rounds had been fired at him--five had hit him in areas not protected by his bullet-proof vest. A forensics examination determined that the bullets had come from a 9mm semiautomatic pistol.

Sgt. Reyka died en route to the hospital.

Detectives located a security camera from the Isle of Capri casino that had filmed a white car speeding away from the scene of the murder two minutes after the shooting. A review of the video-tape determined that the vehicle was likely a 1998-2000 Ford Crown Victoria or 1995-2004 Mercury Grand Marquis.

It is thought that Sgt. Reyka came upon a robbery that was about to happen.

Four months after the murder, eleven suspects in the drugstore robberies were arrested. Three were suspected of being involved in the murder of Sgt. Reyka. They are Timothy “Black Arms” Johnson, 24; Gerald “Dread” Joshua, 28; and Deitrick “Real Deal” Johnson, 22. Investigators, however, have yet to find the murder weapon and don’t have enough evidence to charge any of the suspects with the murder of Sgt. Reyka.

“We think it’s definitely not a coincidence that Chris was killed at a drug store,” Sheriff Al Lamberti said. “With a rash of robberies before and robberies afterwards, then the arrests were made. Now [the robberies] have stopped. We think Chris interrupted something at that drug store.”

In 2010, Gerald Joshua was convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Deitrick Johnson is currently awaiting trial on multiple robbery and weapons charges. His Broward County criminal record includes 32 arrests. The trial of Timothy Johnson, who also faces multiple charges, is also pending.

Sgt. Christopher Reyka was a veteran of the U. S. Marine Corps. He'd worked for eighteen years with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and had recently been honored as Employee of the Month. He was active in his church and in his community, participating in fund-raising events for Special Olympics and serving as a scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts. He left behind a wife, two sons, and two daughters.

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There is currently a $ 267,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Sgt. Reyka’s killer or killers. If you have any knowledge about the identity of those involved in this crime, please call 954-493-8477.

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