Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fallen Tampa police officers remembered at 16th annual race

Tampa police Chief Jane Castor, left, and Mayor Pam Iorio work the annual TPD Memorial Run finish line on Saturday.

KIM WILMATH | Times

Tampa police Chief Jane Castor, left, and Mayor Pam Iorio work the annual TPD Memorial Run finish line on Saturday.

TAMPA — Two mothers stood at the finish line, feeling an emptiness in a crowd of thousands. Wishing their sons were here in sneakers with the rest of the bunch. Wishing those last two flags didn't bear the men's names.

Officer Jeffrey Kocab.

Officer David Curtis.

The young Tampa police officers were shot to death during a traffic stop in June. Their names joined 29 others— one for each Tampa police officer killed in the line of duty — at Saturday's 16th annual TPD Memorial Run in downtown Tampa.

"I can guarantee that when David was here last year, he never thought his name would be up there," said Curtis' twin sister, Autumn Stradley.

Their widows, Kelly Curtis and Sara Kocab, ran alongside police Chief Jane Castor and Mayor Pam Iorio in a record crowd of 2,673 participants, up from about 700 the year before.

"This just lets us know that our sons were loved," said Curtis' mother, Cindy Warren. "What it doesn't do is close the hole in our hearts. We haven't found anything that seals the hole yet."

Warren, who lives in Alabama, met with Jeff Kocab's mother, Sandy Kocab, as soon as Warren arrived in Tampa this week. Through their shared grief, the women have become close friends, Warren said.

"Not friends," Kocab corrected. "Family."

On Wednesday, they went together to their sons' graves.

At the race, they said emotions were mixed. They clapped and smiled as the first few runners made it back, then cried as a group of Sheriff's Office cadets marched through in unison.

"After everything that's happened, it's hard to see people still wanting to risk their lives for this job," Sandy Kocab said.

It's the reason Kocab said she prays out loud each time she hears a siren: God protect the officers. Amen.

The nearly $60,000 collected at the race will go to a memorial fund that benefits fallen officers' families, annual scholarships and upkeep of the fallen officers' memorial at police headquarters, said race director Jim Contento.

"That all these people would show up, we just couldn't believe it," Contento said. "It makes you feel good."

Kim Wilmath can be reached at kwilmath@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2442.

. FAST FACTS

Race winners

5K first place male:
Oscar Orozco, 22, in 16 minutes and 14.29 seconds.

5K first place female:
Kari Grippo, 14, in 17 minutes and 55.93 seconds.

Fallen Tampa police officers remembered at 16th annual race 10/09/10 [Last modified: Sunday, October 10, 2010 12:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return

    Bucs

    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits

    Colleges

    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  3. Assault charge may not sway voters in Montana election (w/video)

    Nation

    BOZEMAN, Mont. — Republican multimillionaire Greg Gianforte won Montana's only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter by the neck and threw him to the ground.

    People fill out ballots for the special election to fill Montana's only U.S. House seat at the Montana Pavilion at MetraPark on Thursday in Billings, Mont. [Associated Press]
  4. Quiet college dropout turned bomber: Who was Salman Abedi?

    World

    LONDON — He was quiet and withdrawn, a college dropout who liked soccer — and, some say, showed alarming signs of being radicalized years before he walked into a pop concert at Britain's Manchester Arena and detonated a powerful bomb, killing himself and 22 others.

    Salman Abedi was identified by British authorities as the man behind Monday’s attack.
  5. Soldiers launch attacks in besieged Philippine city

    World

    MARAWI, Philippines — Backed by tanks and rocket-firing helicopters, Philippine troops launched "precision attacks" Thursday to clear extremists linked to the Islamic State group from a city that has been under siege since a raid that failed to capture one of Asia's most-wanted militants.

    Soldiers fire at enemy positions Thursday while trying to clear the city of Marawi, Philippines, of armed militants.