Update: Standoff Suspect Dies After Killing Two Officers
St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon talks on a cell phone as he walks from the scene where a U.S. Marshal and two St. Petersburg police officers were shot while trying to serve an arrest warrant Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Fla. [AP]
January 24, 2011
Updated: Monday, January 24 @ 1549 ST. PETERSBURG – Two St. Petersburg police officers and a gunman were fatally shot to death and a U.S. marshal was injured early Monday in gunfire that broke out as police tried to serve a domestic battery warrant at a St. Petersburg home.
“Our community has suffered a loss today,’’ St. Petersburg police Chief Chuck Harmon said during a somber press conference with Mayor Bill Foster outside Bayfront Medical Center.
Suncoast Benevolent Association President Mark Marland confirmed the fallen officers as Tom Baitinger and Jeffrey Yaslowitz.
By Monday afternoon, police were able to enter the home where the shooting happened. They confirmed the shooter, Hydra Lacy Jr., was also dead.
The St. Petersburg officers became the first killed during service since 1980. Harmon said the wives of both were notified and "in shock.’’ One of the officers had children.
A group of five St. Petersburg police officers stood around a cruiser outside Yaslowitz’s home in northwest Hillsborough County. Some in uniform, some not, all looked grief stricken. Sgt. David Barr, who supervised Yaslowitz’s unit and was in his police vehicle further down the road, said the officers needed time before speaking about their colleague, but called him "the best.’’
The officers were shot Monday morning after approaching a home where Lacy was being served a U.S. Marshal’s warrant through a fugitive task force.
A marshal who responded to the scene also was shot and is expected to survive.
The shooting took place at 3734 28th Ave. S, in the Perry Bayview neighborhood. Authorities were serving the warrant for Lacy, a known sex offender, according to records.
Officers arrived at the home to interview Lacy’s girlfriend at 7 a.m. When it became clear the suspect was in the attic and armed, more officers arrived and gunfire ensued.
An officer and marshal were hit first when they tried to arrest Lacy, Puetz said. Later, police attempted a rescue in which they pulled the marshal out and that’s when one of the rescuers was fatally shot.
That officer was eventually taken from inside the house and transported to the hospital. He was accompanied by a surgeon.
“It doesn’t look good,’’ Harmon said shortly after the last officer was taken away.
At least six Florida police officers have been killed by gunmen since June – two in Tampa, two in Miami last week, and now two in St. Petersburg.
As Harmon told a group of reporters that the two officers shot dead were married, Foster looked down to the ground. He grimaced and closed his eyes tight as tears streamed down his cheek. He grabbed a tissue from his pocket, took off his glasses and wiped his face.
After the news conference, he told a reporter: "I’m not doing very well. Not very well at all.’’
At about noon, Foster went into another building at the hospital, saying he would talk more at the 4 p.m. news conference at the police station.