Sheriff John Rutherford of the Jacksonville (Florida) Sheriff Department sadly reports that Officer Mark Larson, 50, has passed away due to injuries he sustained while on duty in the 1990’s.

Back in January of 1993, Larson was on patrol near Edgewood Avenue West and Avenue B.  He was contacted by a female who claimed that a career criminal named Willie Murphy attempted to kidnap and rape her.

Larson attempted to stop Murphy as he was driving by.  Murphy refused to provide identification or get out of his vehicle during the traffic stop.  Larson opened the driver’s side door and grabbed Murphy by the shoulder.  That’s when Murphy stepped on the gas and took off.

Larson held on to the door and the roof of the vehicle while standing on the door threshold as Murphy drove down the road.  Murphy attempted to sideswipe the door in oncoming traffic attempting to knock Larson off.  Larson was able to free one of his hands and shot Murphy several times.  Larson then fell from the vehicle skidding along the road and down into a drainage ditch.  He had been dragged for about 100 yards during the altercation.

Murphy died when his vehicle struck several trees a short distance from where Larson lay near the roadway.  Larson underwent 27 hours of surgery to repair his nearly severed left elbow, broken legs, and pelvis.  Complications of the surgery required amputation of Larson’s left arm 5 days later.  He remained in a medically induced coma for months.

In 1996, Officer Larson was given a duty disability retirement.  A short time later, Larson suffered another complication from his elbow injury.  He was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a disease in which his bone marrow didn’t produce sufficient red and white blood cells or platelets need for blood clotting.  He was in and out of hospitals constantly and received hundreds of blood transfusions.

About a year ago, Larson contracted meningitis that left him deaf and bound to a wheelchair.  Over the years, numerous infections took their toll on his physical strength, though his spirits remained high.

Officer Larson passed away in St. Vincent Medical Center hospice medical facility with his wife and son at his side. Gary Oliveras, a close friend and fellow officer, was also with his family at his side.

Officer Mark Larson served the Jacksonville Sheriff Department for 4 and ½ years, and served in law enforcement for total of 8 years.  He was also a US Navy veteran.  He is survived by his wife of 10 years, Erica, and their 8-year-old son, Christian.

Officer Mark Larson–gone, but never forgotten.  EOW: March 24, 2014.

“Graphic created by Fellow Officer Rose Borisow GraFX

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