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St. Petersburg police hunker down after detective's shooting


law community hunkers down after shooting

Like any family, law enforcement officers pull together in a crisis.

One of our surveillance detectives was severely wounded in an exchange of gunfire moments after a robbery at a Blockbuster on Wednesday night. Two bullets fired by one of the robbers caused a life-threatening injury to one of our own.

The call with the news came to my home at 11:15 p.m. I sent a quick dispatch to the media from my laptop and drove to the scene. Once there, I was reunited with two old police academy classmates, now top ranking management with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Their presence reassured me that the investigation of the robbery and the shooting was in good hands.

St. Petersburg police investigators also worked through the night, locating and arresting two more suspects we believe are connected to the robbery.

After talking to the media at the scene, I drove to Bayfront Medical Center, arriving at 3 a.m.

Inside the hospital, the emergency room staff worked without complaint around a large gathering of cops. The mood was somber. I made my way to ICU and stood a few feet from the wounded detective, who was precariously stable after emergency surgery.

Dr. Steven Epstein, a trauma surgeon for 22 years, hovered nearby.

I told Dr. Epstein, "Doc, there is a roomful of cops downstairs who are thanking God for you right now."

"Anyone else could have done the same," he replied.

Perhaps, but in times like these, it was good to have one of the best trauma surgeons on the planet.

William Proffitt, St. Petersburg police spokesman

St. Petersburg police hunker down after detective's shooting 05/03/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 5, 2008 8:56pm]
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