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Funeral for slain St. Petersburg Police Officers Jeffrey Yaslowitz and Tom Baitinger

7:51 PM, Jan 28, 2011   |    comments
  • All told, the city is preparing for more than 10,000 members of our shocked community to come to be a part of the funeral. It begins at 11 a.m. and will feature full police honors, a release of doves, a flyover, and a 21-gun salute.
  • All told, the city is preparing for more than 10,000 members of our shocked community to come to be a part of the funeral. It begins at 11 a.m. and will feature full police honors, a release of doves, a flyover, and a 21-gun salute.
    
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- Church funeral services have ended for two St. Petersburg Police officers who were killed in the line of duty.

Watching indoors and on giant video screens, thousands of people gathered to pay their final respects to K-9 Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz and Sergeant Tom Baitinger.

Photo Gallery: Remembering Tom Baitinger and Jeffrey Yaslowitz

They were killed during a shootout with suspect Hydra Lacy on Monday.

First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg was full of folks from a heartbroken city at a visitation Thursday night. Hundreds of people wrapped themselves in coats and waited outside in the cold air before entering the church.

Many told us it's important for them to show the families of the fallen officers how much they care.

Leave your condolences for the fallen police officers

Friday's funeral saw that crowd grow from hundreds to thousands.

Among the attendees are Florida Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, who arrived shortly before the funeral service began.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, along with Police Chief Chuck Harmon spoke at the service, along with several friends of the two men.

Harmon said he is angry about the incident and said Lacy "got off too easily."

 The service began at 11 a.m. and featured full police honors, a release of doves, a flyover, and a 21-gun salute.

Shortly after 2 p.m. a procession from the church to the cemetary began. They arrived at the cemetary at about 3:30.

Bill Proffitt with the St. Petersburg Police Department estimates 10,000 people were in attendance for Friday's ceremony.

Family, friends, and law enforcement had priority for the 3,000 seats inside the church. Large video screens were set up outside, along with another 3,000 seats. Another video screen showed the service to a standing crowd outside.

VIDEO: Road closures and programming changes

You can expect heavy traffic and road closures all day Friday in the area around Gandy and some other streets in northern Pinellas County.

Beginning at 8 a.m., Gandy Blvd. will be closed between Interstate 275 and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. St. No through traffic will be allowed.

You will be able to use any of the exits off of I-275 onto Gandy. However, if you're not going to the funeral, you'll be sent west on Gandy toward Pinellas Park.

The funeral procession left the church and headed:

- East on 94th Ave. N.
- North on MLK St. to Roosevelt Blvd., continuing on Ulmerton Rd.
- North on 49th St. N., over the Bayside Bridge, which turns into McMullen Booth Rd.
- West on Sunset Point Rd. into Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park cemetery in Clearwater

Graveside services will honor both officers side by side. Then, Officer Yaslowitz's casket will be interred. Sgt. Baitinger's casket will be moved to another area for a private family service.

Connect with 10 News multi-media journalist Grayson Kamm
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Grayson Kamm, 10 News. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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