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'War On Cops' Continues: Third St. Pete Officer Killed

'War On Cops' Continues: Third St. Pete Officer Killed

Tampa Bay Tribune via YellowBrix

February 22, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG – A 25-year police veteran of the St. Petersburg Police Department was fatally shot by a man at Second Avenue South and Eighth Street South on Monday night, officials said.

A search for the shooter is ongoing this morning in the Campbell Park area, near Tropicana Field, police said. Schools in the vicinity have been closed and students are being relocated to other campuses, authorities said.

Police identified the slain officer as David S. Crawford. The 46-year-old officer became the third St. Petersburg police officer to be shot and killed in the line of duty in less than a month.

“This killer has taken someone precious to us – a member of our family,” Police Chief Chuck Harmon said early this morning during a news conference outside the hospital.

“I’m not going to lie. The city has been through hell,” Mayor Bill Foster said. “It took 30 years to lose an officer in the line of duty, and within 30 days, it’s happened again. I can tell you cities don’t prepare for this; departments don’t prepare for this.”

Shortly after 10:30 p.m. Monday, Crawford was shot multiple times in the chest at close range. He returned fire but it’s not known whether he hit the suspect, Harmon said. Police did not say whether Crawford was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Flowers began to appear at police headquarters just after dawn, much as they did after the Jan. 24 slayings of Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, the first St. Petersburg officers killed in the line of duty since 1980.

One woman wearing a black T-shirt that pays tribute to Baitinger and Yaslowitz dropped off flowers shortly after sunrise at police headquarters, where the flag was already at half-staff.

She declined to give her name but said her brother was a police officer. She said he was off at the time of the shooting but was called in to help hunt for the killer.

“It’s horrible,” she said. “My mom wants him to get off the force.”

The card with the flowers she left reads simply, “Because we care.”

In the lobby of police headquarters, framed color photographs of Baitinger and Yaslowitz still sit on a table below a plaque honoring those killed in the line of duty. Their names have not yet been added to the plaque.

Michael Ponce de Leon was a witness to the aftermath of the shooting.

“Everybody was screaming,” he told BayNews 9. "All the cops were like, ‘No, not again.’

“Blood was everywhere. He (Crawford) was basically mumbling. I don’t know if he was in agony or pain; I couldn’t make it out.”

Ponce de Leon said he yelled at the downed officer to keep him conscious.

Josh Harris, 21, lives nearby on Third Avenue South and was walking along Grey Eagle Court to a convenience store when he heard shots.

He said he heard four consecutive shots, a pause and then two more.

He said he saw the suspect fleeing the area, running south on Eighth Street, and then spotted Crawford on the ground, lying on his back. Blood was everywhere, he said.

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  • Me_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Ok, maybe it's me cuz my kid says I'm an a**hole of a parent but this kid was 16 years old. First of all, what was he doing out at 10:30 at night unsupervised by his parent or another adult and secondly what the HELL was he doing with a gun?? if my kid was out at 10:30 at night, i'd beat her ass and then beat the ass of the CYS worker that showed up at my door after she complained about it. And if one of my guns was missing, I'd find my kid and get the gun back!! This is BS and the parents are just as responsible as the kid. Try them all as adults. Do the crime, do the time ya little bastard!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago



  • Me_max50


    over 3 years ago


    DAMN...another officer tasked with guarding the Pearly Gates. God, please don't take any more officers when we need them down here. RIP Officer Crawford and my prayers go with you and your family that they will make it through this. Prayers also to your brothers and sister in the St Pete Police Department who have had to live through this again after losing two officers less than a month ago. I hope they find the suspect soon and give him his just reward...A one way ticket to meet Satan!!!! Rest in Peace my brother.

  • L_9751489511524fa8a45242cc068fdf3f_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP fallen officers.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    God bless....RIP sir.

  • Police_cartoon_max50


    over 3 years ago


    God bless you for your years of service and rest in peace brother. Wow, What the hell is going on in this country right now?! Not only do we have our regular subjects to deal with that pose a risk but now we're being targeted by these worthless scumbags. To top it off we have scum politicians that are making us out to be the group of employees in the country and they claim we have "A Golden Ticket" (N.J. Gov. Christie) because we have medical benefits a and a pension. In Jersey we've become the public enemy thanks to this clown who's trying to take away any incentive this job has to offer. Sorry for the rant but we don't make 34 Million for a 3 year contract and we're being targeted and killed at an alarming rate and we don't even have public support thanks to crooked politicians like him who were picked on as kids and issued lots of tickets as an adult. The trend is scary

  • Don_cesar_04_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Unfortunately the officer was not wearing a vest. It's a sad comment on our society when we have to say that our law enforcement officers can no longer do their jobs without wearing a vest at all times, however, I believe it has come to that. There is no longer a respect for elders, teachers, law enforcement and adults in general, let alone anyone in authority.

    May God continue to protect those who selflessly protect and serve society.

  • Joel


    over 3 years ago


    RIP, my brother, Officer Crawford..... your courageous actions and dedication to duty will not be forgotten, you will never be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Crawford's family and friends.

    As a nation, we NEED to come together, stand together, and vow together that we have had enough of this, and find a way to put a stop to these types of crimes, and to stop these types of criminals, once and for all-
    This offender, and others who are of similar age, need to be charged as an ADULT, the same as if a person over the age of 18 committed a similar crime. This was a deliberate and thought-out crime, and needs to be dealt with by deliberate and final punishment. Many states will charge a 16-year-old who commits a deliberate murder as an adult. I believe Florida residents need to get together and propose a similar new law in Florida.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    It is a sad time for the St. Petersburg Police Department. As a former Police Explorer with the St. Petersburg Police Department it has hit closer to home as I had developed a great relationship with some of the officers on the department. It pains me to see them deal with such a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with them in these tough times.

    As a side note that is not mentioned in this article. Last night it was reported that the 16 year old male that shot and killed Officer Crawford had been arrested.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    I pray for him and his family! May he R.I.P. Tampa area has had 10 LEO's killed since 2001. What is going on?
    It's become a killing field down there. We need to do something. But what?He had a vest but didn't have it on.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    RIP Brother Crawford. Our thoughts and prayers go out ot his family, his fellow officers and the St. Petersburg PD. Be safe.

  • Officer_w_pavey_max50


    over 3 years ago


    My deepest condolences go out to Officer Crawford's family, to his friends, and to all the members of the St. Petersburg Police Department. There is currently an ongoing crisis that is occuring in our country. Police Officers are not respected anymore. You have citizens out here that think the police get paid to much. They don't realize that the "Thin Blue Line" keeps them away from total mayhelm. To all the officers out there, please keep alert. Be safe and God bless you.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    MOTOR141: It's not so much the administrations as it is the lawyers they fear. I think it's time that lawyers are required to spend one weekend a month in a patrol car with the officers in a busy district and see all the ugliness the officers have to deal with. Not just the threats to our lives, but the threats to our mental sanity with the abused, neglected, disposed of children, the strung out, homless abused people who have been left behind by society, etc...

  • Kay_and_i_at_senior_move_up_day_max50


    over 3 years ago


    This country needs to take the streets back from criminals. Police are underpaid. I know, I was there. It is awful that this government does not empathize the need for qualified police officers and the daily chances that we take. The pay for officers should be just as much as a football player.

    I pray for my fallen brother and his family and for all my brothers in law enforcement. May GOD bless.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Hey guys and gals maybe administrations will quit being
    So DAMN CITIZEN FRIENDLY and let us deal with the trash
    As it is needed WITH FORCE.
    Do we become a country that tolerates officers being killed,
    as if whe lived in Iraq or Afghanistan. It's time for it to stop.
    My heart goes out to my fallen brother and his family, RIP BROTHER.

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