Died January 24, 2011
Sergeant Tom Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz were shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant on a suspect wanted for aggravated battery. Several members of a regional task force had gone to the home to question a family member about the man’s whereabouts. After making contact with the woman, the officers were informed that the man was in the attic and possibly armed.
Officer Yaslowitz, who served on the department’s canine unit, had just finished his shift and was en route home when he volunteered to respond to the call. After unsuccessfully attempting to talk the man out of the attic, Officer Yaslowitz and a member of the United States Marshals Service made entry into the attic and were immediately shot. Another officer was able to pull the deputy marshal from the attic but was unable to reach Officer Yaslowitz. The suspect then fired from the attic, striking Sergeant Baitinger who was providing cover from the main level.
A SWAT team used a tactical vehicle to breach a wall of the home and came under fire, but was able to recover Officer Yaslowitz. Officer Yaslowitz and Sergeant Baitinger were both transported to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead. The suspect was found dead several hours later after the home was partially dismantled using heavy machinery.
Sergeant Baitinger had served with the St. Petersburg Police Department for 15 years. He is survived by his wife.