FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – It was July 21 of 1974 when Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Walter Ilyankoff was gunned down on the job, executed at the Red Lobster at 5900 North Federal Highway while investigating an armed robbery.
“As he opens the back door you’ll see right here, Alvin Ford discharges two shot, striking the officer in the stomach twice,” Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Travis Mandell said to CBS4’s Ted Scouten while pointing to crime scene photos.
Officer Ilyankoff surprised Alvin Ford, one of four men who robbed the place and held two women hostage.
Ford was left behind by the three others; George Decosta, Alvin Lewis and Henry Robinson. That’s when he shot Ilyankoff then rifled through his pockets looking for the keys to the cruiser – that would be his get-a-way car. But before he left, he pulled the gun out again.
“He fell to the ground here and was screaming for help on the radio for his fellow officers,” Det. Mandell explained. “As Alvin Ford pulled out his gun and executed him, shooting him in the head from point blank range.”
“I remember the call that day, going out to everyone help join the search,” said Bruce Roberts, a city commissioner and former police chief. He was a rookie on the force at the time – and helped hunt down the killers.
Triggerman Alvin Ford died on death row. The remaining three got a life sentence. But now they’re up for parole.
“This is a cold blooded execution!” said Roberts. “A life sentence should be a life sentence, It’s not right. The life sentence that these guys plead to save their own lives for killing a police officer, that’s a done deal, that’s their debt, what they owe to society. “
Decosta, Lewis and Robinson will go before the pardon and parole board in August. Between now and May 1st, Fort Lauderdale Police are taking input from the community.
“If you want your voice to be heard by the Parole Committee,” said Det. Mandell, “please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a short statement expressing feelings on whether the three men should be paroled or not.”
The police department will present those emails to the parole board.