Another St. Petersburgh Officer Shot and Killed
Another officer shot to death in St. Pete - St. Petersburg Times
Unbelievable... RIP Ofc. Crawford...
ST. PETERSBURG — Veteran St. Petersburg police officer David S. Crawford was shot and killed Monday as he and another officer investigated a report of a prowler at a downtown residence.
Crawford's killing came one month after two St. Petersburg police officers were shot dead in the line of duty — the first police officers killed in the city in 31 years.
A massive manhunt was underway for the killer Tuesday morning, with several downtown blocks closed and police checking cars.
The search was focused on an area bounded by 4th Street S and 16th Street S, and 4th Avenue S and 15th Avenue S. Police said they had reason to believe the shooter was there.
It was unclear if Crawford's killer was injured in an exchange of gunfire.
The shooting occurred just after 10:30 p.m. near Eighth Street and Third Avenue S. Crawford, a 25-year veteran of the department, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. His family was at the hospital early Tuesday morning.
Police said Crawford was shot multiple times, but also returned fire.
"It hurts," Police Chief Chuck Harmon said at a news conference outside the hospital just after 2 a.m. "It stings. This killer has taken someone very precious to us, a member of our family." He called on the public for any information related to the shooting.
At 6:18 a.m. Tuesday, a white van left Bayfront Medical Center. Uniformed and plainclothes police officers lined up along a driveway on either side of the van and saluted as the it passed, accompanied by two police cars with their emergency lights flashing. They headed down 6th Street S.
About a dozen police officers were milling in front of the trauma center just before dawn.
Here's the police account of what happened Monday night:
About 10:30 p.m., Crawford, 46, and officer Donald J. Ziglar, 41, went to the 700 block of 3rd Ave. S to investigate a report of a suspicious person. Ziglar arrived at 10:34 p.m. and Crawford arrived a few seconds later.
A resident reported seeing a man holding a broken brick in his hand and walking into the backyard of the resident's home. The resident suspected the man was going to commit a burglary, police said.
Crawford drove around the area and found the prowler near the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue S and 8th Street S. He parked and approached the man.
At 10:37 p.m., Officer Ziglar reported an exchange of gunfire. He told dispatchers that an officer had been shot.
Ziglar found Crawford on the pavement near his police cruiser. He had been shot multiple times at close range and was taken to Bayfront Medical Center.
The suspect ran away, heading south. Police canine teams tracked the suspect for several blocks before losing the suspect's scent. Officers with bloodhounds assisted.
At least 50 police officers and the Pinellas sheriff's helicopter and canine units began an intense search of the city for the shooter.
The suspect was described as a black male in his late teens or early 20s last seen wearing a dark-colored hoodie.
Anthony Ciecalone, 26, said he was sitting on his porch drinking a glass of wine when he heard six shots. He said it sounded like four shots came from one gun, two from another.
Ciecalone grabbed his camera and ran with a friend to within 35 feet of where the downed officer lay. He said the officer was on his back and had a leg in the air.
He said fellow officers descended on the area and surrounded the officer. The other officers were yelling for an ambulance, which arrived quickly and took the wounded officer away.
Prior to running toward the officer, Ciecalone saw a man running away from the scene and then saw a dark sedan or Grand Am peel out of the area, he said.
Chris Magner, 30, who lives in the area near where the shooting occurred, said he was watching television with his girlfriend when he heard as many as 10 shots coming from across the street from his house.
"We heard some gunshots, obviously from two different guns because one was way louder than the other one," Magner said.
Magner said he came outside and saw a number of police cars race into the area. He didn't see the injured officer or the shooter.
Police did not say if the officer was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
The city is still coping with the shooting deaths of Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz and Thomas Baitinger, who were killed Jan. 24 in a confrontation with an armed suspect in an attic. Police laid siege to Lacy's home at 3734 28th Ave. S in St. Petersburg with armored vehicles and nearly destroyed it until his body found was found hours later.
Earlier Monday, some 280 people attended a golf fundraiser for the officers' families at Feather Sound Country Club.
"This city has been through hell," Mayor Bill Foster said at the news conference outside the hospital. "Our hearts are broken."
Before the double killing last month, it had been 30 years since the last St. Petersburg officer died in the line of duty. Detective Herbert R. Sullivan in 1980 was shot in an undercover drug buy by a suspect who sneaked through a police perimeter.
The Tampa Bay area has now had six officers shot to death in the line of duty in the last two years. The Tampa Police Department has lost three officers: Officers David Curtis, Jeffrey Kocab and Cpl. Mike Roberts.
Harmon said he could see the look of shock on the faces of his officers.
"As I saw their faces tonight it was . . . not again," Harmon said.
Crawford was sworn in as a police officer on July 13, 1985.