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Services for slain St. Petersburg police officers set for Thursday, Friday

ST. PETERSBURG — A joint viewing and funeral are planned for the two St. Petersburg police officers fatally shot Monday.

The public viewing for Sgt. Thomas J. Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz is Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1900 Gandy Blvd., said police spokesman Mike Puetz. Family members will have a private viewing earlier in the day.

The funeral will be Friday at 11 a.m. at the same church.

"This town wants to support our Police Department and this is the place," said church administrator Austin Ganly.

Baitinger, 48, and Yaslowitz, 39, were shot to death while assisting a law enforcement task force seeking fugitive Hydra Lacy Jr.

Greg Crane, the church's pastor for worship, said First Baptist is proud and honored to help. "We are honored to be able to host this and be able to provide a place for the community to come together in a time of need," he said.

Church officials are preparing for up to 10,000 people to attend Friday's funeral service, though no one knows how many will attend. The church holds 2,850 people. Tents with video feeds will be set up outside to accommodate overflow crowds. Off-site parking also is planned, though specifics were not released.

Bay News 9 will cover the ceremony live.

About 5,000 people assembled for the joint funeral for slain Tampa police officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis in July at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, who were killed during a traffic stop.

Services for slain St. Petersburg police officers set for Thursday, Friday 01/26/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2011 8:14am]
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