SAINT PETERSBURG (CBS4) – A 16-year old boy has been arrested in the shooting death of a St. Petersburg police officer.
Less than 24 hours after officer David Crawford was gunned down Monday night while checking out reports of a prowler, tips led police to the teen who reportedly confessed to the shooting during questioning. Police said the boy was remorseful for his actions.
The teen will make his first appearance before a judge Wednesday morning where he faces a charge of a first degree murder; prosecutors will most likely charge him as an adult.
According to the department, around 10:30 p.m. Crawford, 46, was instructed to check out a suspicious person near Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Crawford spotted the person but when he got out his patrol car and went to approach him, things went horribly wrong. Officer Donald Ziglar, who was nearby, said he heard an exchange of gunfire and found Crawford on the ground by his cruiser; he had been shot multiple times. Crawford was rushed to Bayfront Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon said in a news conference late Tuesday night that they still don’t know why the teen killed Crawford and that they have yet to find the weapon.
“I feel for the juvenile’s family but at the same time he needs to be accountable for his actions and he’s going to be paying for this for the rest of his life, however long that is,” said Harmon.
A 25 year veteran, Crawford was the third St. Petersburg police officer to die in the line of duty this year. In January, St. Petersburg police officers Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz and Thomas Baitinger were killed as they helped serve a warrant on a man with a long criminal history. Crawford left behind a wife and daughter.