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Slain Florida Officers Ambushed by Gunman Hiding In Attic

January 24, 2011  | 

St. Petersburg PD's Sgt. Tom Baitinger (left) and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz were ambushed by a suspect hiding in an attic. Photo courtesy of St. Petersburg PD.

Two St. Petersburg (Fla.) Police officers were killed Monday, while backing up a U.S. Marshal serving a warrant for the apprehension of a sexual offender.

Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, 39, and Sgt. Tom Baitinger, 48, accompanied a U.S. Marshal, who was shot twice during the same incident and is expected to survive. The officers arrived at the residence of Hydra Lacy Jr., and were let in by a woman who told them Lacy was armed and hiding in the attic.

After talking with Lacy, the Marshal entered the attic and was shot in his ballistic vest. Lacy then fired at the officers, striking Yaslowitz first, and then Baitinger, who was providing cover.

The agency deployed an armored tactical vehicle to extract Yaslowitz. Lacy was found dead, after the house was partially dismantled using heavy machinery.

Sgt. Baitinger became the first St. Petersburg officer killed on duty since 1980. Officer Yaslowitz had just finished his shift and was driving home, when he decided to respond to the call.

"Our community has suffered a loss today," St. Petersburg Chief Chuck Harmon said during a somber press conference outside of Bayfront Medical Center.

Read the full story at

Comments (7)

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7

garry shepard @ 1/24/2011 6:47 PM

Man they didn't even have a chance I feel that responding officer shouldn't b put in harms way if they're responding to a suspect in a concealed area that's when technology. Comes to good use think about it a suspect has an advantage when he's in a concealed area such as an attic remember the oakland killing of swat sgt he was gun down from the closet dept needed a safer apporach in warrant and response to concealed suspect

rick wanamaker @ 1/24/2011 6:53 PM

garry s is correct. unfortuanately, this is where, "i've done it this way before and it worked out ok" is not ok. anyone ones who has been an officer for a while has done this. we need to worker "smarter/safer" not quicker...

rick wanamaker @ 1/24/2011 6:55 PM

(we need to proofread our stuff too!)

Rick @ 1/25/2011 10:00 AM

Barricaded Subject = Tactical Team Response. Whether the agency calls it SWAT, SERT, SRT or HRT, they have the staffing, training and equipment to deal with these types of situations. Officers need to recognize when they should stop, set up a perimeter, evacuate civilians and wait for the tactical team. Active shooter situations or terrorist situations are different and may require an immediate response, but time is on the side of law enforcement officers when dealing with barricaded subjects.

Sgt @ 1/25/2011 6:21 PM

We can't second guess these two brave men. They are no longer here to explain to us why they did what they did! We can just pray for these heros and keep their families in our thoughts and prayers! We do what we do everyday. We go to work every day, knowing that this could be the day we don't make it home. Thank you brothers, for your service, dedication, and sacrifice.

BT @ 1/26/2011 8:24 AM

No matter what we do to prepare, how well we train, how tactically sound we are, it could happen to any of us, anytime - anywhere. God bless these officers and their families. Be safe.

Bart Ellison @ 2/22/2011 7:09 PM

Has St.Petersburg,Fla.become the next little Chicago?Why are so many officers being attacked?

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