Suspects apprehended in Fla. trooper's death


Published: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 1:13 a.m.
LAKE PLACID - Two suspects in the shooting death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper were arrested Saturday, authorities said.
Joshua Lee Altersberger, 19, was arrested at his home in Sebring about 4:30 a.m. Saturday and was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sergeant Nicholas Sottile a day earlier. A second man, 21-year-old Quintin Jerome Kinder, 21, of Bainbridge, Ga., was also arrested, after giving himself up to a search team at about 6 a.m., but charges were pending.
Sottile, 48, observed Altersberger driving erratically Friday and pulled him over. As Sottile approached the vehicle, Kinder, the passenger, fled on foot to a nearby Orange grove, said Ernie Duarte, a spokesman for the highway patrol. Sottile went back to his patrol car to call for backup and then began walking toward the suspects' car when Altersberger shot him in the chest at 3:22 p.m., Duarte said.
Altersberger fled; Sottile was flown to Florida Hospital Lake Placid and pronounced dead. The suspects' vehicle was later found in an orange grove in Sebring.
Sottile had worked for the FHP for nearly 24 years. He is survived by a wife, Elizabeth; a daughter, Heather, of Orlando; and a son Nicholas, of Tampa, who also works for the FHP.
The last time a Florida Highway Patrol trooper was shot and killed was in May 1998, in Pasco County. James B. Crooks, 23, was attempting to apprehend a suspect who had just shot and killed two Tampa Police Department detectives. Crooks had been with FHP for nine months.
Sottile's funeral will be held Tuesday in Sebring. His death was noted by Gov. Charlie Crist.
''My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Sgt. Nick Sottile and his fellow troopers,'' Crist said in a statement. ''Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line everyday for the safety and security of our state and I speak for all Floridians in offering our deepest gratitude for their sacrifices.''

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top