MARION COUNTY, Fla. - The Ocala Police Department confirmed to FOX 35 on Sunday that its police chief, Greg Graham, died in a plane crash.
Marion County deputies said that they and the Marion County Fire Rescue responded to the 9700th block of Southwest 140th Avenue in Dunnellon in reference to a plane crash on Sunday morning.
When first responders arrived at the scene, they found the single-engine plane and the pilot, who officials were able to identify as Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham. He was the sole occupant of the plane.
In a news release, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said that "the family of Chief Greg Graham, Ocala Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office and all who knew Chief Graham experienced a tragedy today. Right now, the focus is to assist his family and his family in blue who are impacted by his sudden and tragic loss."
The Marion County Sheriff's Office held a news briefing Sunday afternoon to discuss the crash and Graham's passing.
The NTSB is investigating the crash.
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Graham had been chief since 2012, after working for many years in the department and rising to deputy chief.
He had left the Ocala Police Department in 2008 to become police chief in Ceder Rapids, Iowa. He was the person to be selected chief from outside that agency in 30 years, the newspaper reported.
During his stint in Iowa, he guided the department through rising flood waters in June 2008. He told the Star-Banner then that the experience was “trial by fire.”
“I feel like I’m back in Florida during the 2004-2005 hurricanes we had, and we had to get ready for them,” he said then.
He returned to Florida when the Ocala police chief resigned in late December 2008.
Members of the policing community and others in Marion County expressed their sentiments on social media on Sunday afternoon about Chief Graham's passing.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.