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Rays fans call officer's death "ultimate loss"

10:53 AM, Feb 24, 2011   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - Fans, players and coaches from the Tampa Bay Rays say a St. Petersburg Police Officer killed late Monday night in a shoot out with a robbery suspect will be missed at Tropicana Field.

Officer Dave Crawford worked nights in the areas around downtown St. Petersburg and was a regular working Tropicana Field crowd control.

Season ticket holders from section 138 say Officer Crawford often worked an area around the bullpen near the right field foul pole and would keep obnoxious fans from opposing teams in check.

"He was good putting them back in their place. He was basically, 'you can watch the game or leave,'" said Rays fan Cliff Wittig.

Season ticket holder Melissa Nelson says she last saw Officer Crawford at Rays Fan Fest Saturday.

"He came over and gave me a big hug and said he was looking forward to the upcoming Rays season," said Nelson.

Officer Crawford was also a friend to Rays staff. Bullpen Coach Bobby Ramos said the entire team was saddened by the news.

"He was a very special guy who we knew and came in touch with," said Ramos who would smile and wave at Crawford every night. "We appreciate the job and the sacrifice they do to protect us."

Beau Zimmer

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