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Two officers with St. Petersburg police named state officers of the year

ST. PETERSBURG — Sgt. Karl Lounge and Officer Douglas Weaver are Florida's top cops.

That's according to Attorney General Pam Bondi, who on Wednesday named the two St. Petersburg police officers the state's "Officers of the Year" in recognition of their actions during a shootout in which two other officers were killed.

"Their courage in the face of danger and dedication to saving the lives of their fellow officers is truly admirable," Bondi said in a news release.

Lounge and Weaver were among the first to respond Jan. 24, 2011, after a report of an officer down inside a St. Petersburg home. K-9 Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz was shot and killed in the home's attic as he pursued a fugitive gunman who was holed up inside. A deputy U.S. Marshal was also shot, but survived.

As they entered the house, Lounge and Weaver exchanged gunfire with the fugitive. Weaver was shot as he tried to pull Yaslowitz down from the attic. Another officer, Thomas Baitinger, was also shot in the rescue effort.

Weaver carried the wounded marshal from the house and went back inside for Baitinger. Lounge continued to exchange fire with the gunman through the ceiling.

Baitinger later died.

Lounge and Weaver both previously received Medals of Valor for their actions from the St. Petersburg Police Department.

A committee, appointed by Bondi, selected the two officers to receive the annual award. All candidates were law enforcement officers who were previously recognized as "officers of the year" by various police organizations before being nominated.

Two officers with St. Petersburg police named state officers of the year 02/06/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 9:53pm]
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