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St. Petersburg City Council honors fallen officers as family, friends call for prayer

ST. PETERSBURG — Family members and friends of two police officers fatally shot last week are inviting the community to a prayer event on the steps of City Hall at noon Friday.

The prayer event is part of an effort by Unity in our Community, a campaign dedicated to showing law enforcement officers and other civic leaders how much they are appreciated.

"When one family member grieves, we all grieve,'' said Tamaira Heyward, wife of a St. Petersburg police officer. "When one member of our family hurts, we all hurt. We are an extension of each other's family. We are calling upon all residents of our community to demonstrate our love and support for the public servants who ensure the exceptional quality of life we enjoy in our city each day.''

Meanwhile, the St. Petersburg City Council Thursday issued two resolutions of bereavement in honor of Sgt. Thomas J. "Bait" Baitinger, 48, and K-9 Officer Jeffrey A. "Yaz" Yaslowitz, 39.

It was the first official meeting since the tragedy, and each council member spoke for a few minutes about their grief and prayers for the families of the officers and the St. Petersburg Police Department.

"It's been a long two weeks," Mayor Bill Foster said. "I don't think any of us are eating or sleeping. I know we're all still asking each other if we're doing that."

Students will also hold a candlelight vigil in honor of the two officers on Thursday evening at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

The public is invited to the vigil, which will start at 6:30 p.m. on the campus' Harborwalk plaza at the intersection of Sixth Avenue S and Second Street S. Assistant Police Chief Luke Williams will speak at the vigil.

Parking will be available at the campus garage at 250 Fifth Ave. S. For information call Margaret Spears at (727) 698-2375 or student government president James Scott at (386) 481-7179.

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St. Petersburg City Council honors fallen officers as family, friends call for prayer 02/03/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 3, 2011 1:49pm]
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