Slain St. Petersburg police officer

February 22nd, 2011 by Staff

ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg police officer shot in the line of duty in downtown St. Petersburg has died.

The officer has been identified as 46-year-old David S. Crawford.

The shooting happened at 2nd Avenue South at 8th Street South.

Police said a citizen reported a “suspicious person” at 10:30 p.m. The caller said they saw a man with a brick and thought he was going to break into something.

Two officers were dispatched to the scene. They arrived five minutes later. A few minutes after that, one of the officers reported shots had been fired and said an officer was down.

That officer was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he later died.

At a press conference, Police Chief Chuck Harmon said the officer was shot “multiple times at close range” and returned fire. Harmon said it’s unknown if the suspect was injured.

Ofc. Crawford was a 25-year veteran. The other officer at the scene, Officer Donald Ziglar, was not injured.

Harmon did not address if Crawford was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster paused before he spoke at the press conference.

“I’m not going to lie. This city has been through hell. It took 30 years to lose an officer in the line of duty. And within 30 days it happened. Again,” he said. “Cities don’t prepare for this. Departments don’t prepare for this. But what I can assure the citizens of St. Petersburg is that the officers prepare for this every day.”

Active suspect search under way
Police are still looking for the suspect, described as a black male, between 18 and 20 years old, wearing a black hoodie. The suspect was last seen jumping over a fence.

“We have a killer on the loose,” Harmon said.

Officers are searching by air and ground for the suspect.

“Obviously, when something like this happens we’re gonna put every officer we can on it,” said police spokesperson Mike Puetz. “We have about 50 plus officers out here conducting searches right now plus we have the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office helicopter and we have officers from the sheriff’s office as well.”

Officers are also reportedly stationed at nearby interstate entrances and exits.

“I have teams out there tonight looking for evil,” Foster said. “I’ve got other teams throughout the city, protecting the city and they’ll be there again tomorrow. And they’ll be out day in and day out protecting our city.”

Residents heard gunshots
A resident near the scene described hearing gunshots. Roland Murphy took video with his cell phone. He said the gunfire only lasted a few seconds.

“I was laying down in bed and I heard some gunshots,” Murphy said. “I kinda jumped out of bed.”

Murphy took the video about a minute after hearing the gunshots. The video shows police cars and sirens can be heard nearby.

“The chopper’s around flying over this area. Looks like there’s just a large police presence. Everything’s caution-taped off,” Murphy said. “We got police presence from about 4th or 5th Ave. South on 8th Street all the way up as far north as I can see on Central.”

Another resident, who lives nearby, also described a chaotic scene after hearing gunshots.

“I turned and looked out the window,” said Matt Douglas. “As soon as we looked up the road towards the police station we saw an entire line of flashing lights were coming down, immediately splitting to adjacent streets as they got down here and surrounding the area.”

Two officers killed last month
The St. Petersburg Police Department just lost two of their own last month. Tom Baitinger, 48, and Jeffrey Yaslowitz, 39 were killed in the line of duty in a gunfight with a man hiding in an attic.

One Response

  1. CocoLoco

    Where is the outcry from the black community leaders?? I’m certain if the situation was reversed we would have activists screaming into every TV camera they could find about how unjust the PD was in their actions. So why not take this opportunity to voice your outrage for the cold blooded killing of an officer who is there to protect the rights of these very same activists and the community as a whole!! The silence is deafening!!!

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