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Pinellas County police memorial adds name from 1926

LARGO — Officer Everett E. Blewfield was only a week into his job as a Tarpon Springs police officer when he was notified about suspicious activity near a grocery store.

Blewfield, 43, responded and approached a car near the store's rear door when two men popped out. Before he could pull out his gun, one of the men opened fire. A .45-caliber bullet hit the rookie officer in the chest and pierced his heart, killing him after just a few steps.

That was August 1926. But it wasn't until Tuesday morning that his sacrifice was formally immortalized in the county.

At a 10 a.m. ceremony, Blewfield's name was added to the memorial stone for those in Pinellas County law enforcement who have died in the line of duty since 1905.

"It's been so long," said Tarpon Springs police Chief Robert Kochen, "but no fallen brother can be forgotten."

Blewfield was one of 24 officers honored during Tuesday's 25th annual Pinellas law enforcement memorial observance.

A Tarpon Springs historian first brought Blewfield's name and story to the Police Department's attention.

Officers researched it and confirmed the case.

Blewfield's name was recently added to a national memorial for fallen officers in Washington, D.C. But his name was still missing from the county's memorial.

Blewfield's family got in touch with Kochen, and the chief contacted the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, where officials said they would add the name.

"It's something you've got to remember," said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Added Kochen: "It was real important that we got him recognized today."

Blewfield's family members were pleased to see him recognized.

"It's an honor," said Phillip Carr, Blewfield's great-grandson and the principal at Spoto High School in Riverview. "We need to honor those who have given their lives for us. That kind of thing in our family is very important."

After one of the men fired on Blewfield, the two men fled the scene with two women who were waiting in a vehicle. Tarpon Springs police Chief E.R. Washington alerted area law enforcement, and within a day all four people were captured.

The two men were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. One was executed. The other had his sentence reduced to life in prison.

The two women pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to a year in prison.

The investigation showed the two men had burglarized the store, blown up the safe and stolen money and checks. They were in the process of escaping when they ran into Blewfield, Kochen said.

Blewfield is one of three Tarpon Springs officers who have died in the line of duty.

Pinellas County police memorial adds name from 1926 05/09/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 10:50pm]
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