Sergeant Tom Baitinger / St. Petersburg Police Department, Florida
End of Watch: Monday, January 24, 2011
Biographical Info: Age: 48 / Tour of Duty: 15 years
Incident Details: / Cause of Death: Gunfire / Date of Incident: January 24, 2011
Suspect Info: Shot and killed
Sergeant Tom Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz were shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant on a suspect with two outstanding warrants 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 started his shift, filling in for another officer, when he responded to the call.
After searching the house they located the suspect in the attic where he convinced officers that he was going to surrender. As Officer Yaslowitz and a member of the United States Marshals Service, Marshal Scott Ley, made entry into the attic, the suspect shot Officer Yaslowitz twice in the head, and then shot the Marshal Ley in the groin, causing Marshal Ley to fall out of the attic.
Officers assembled a rescue team to try to rescue Officer Yaslowitz from the attic, and Marshal Ley from a bathroom on the upper floor of the house. As Sergeant Baitinger passed under the opening of the attic to aid Marshal Ley, the suspect then fired from the attic, striking Sergeant Baitinger.
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.