Officer Arnulfo Crispin passes away, funeral plans announced

5:27 PM, Dec 21, 2011   |    comments
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Video: Police Chief: Lakeland officer will not survive shooting

 

Update: Officer Arnulfo Crispin passed away during the overnight hours. His body was escorted by police from Lakeland Regional Medical Center to an undisclosed location.

Flags in front of Lakeland Police Department were lowered to half staff.

A memorial has been set up outside police headquarters, where Officer Crispin's patrol car now sits.

Throughout Wednesday, members of the community have dropped off flowers as a way to pay their respects.

"I haven't had the TV off," said Lakeland resident Anne Silvers, who never met Crispin and has no connection to his family, "it's been sad.  It's just been really, really sad."

Crispin was shot late Sunday after approaching five young men in a Lakeland park. Authorities say the shooting happened as he was patting down one of the men for weapons.

Authorities have charged 19-year-old Kyle Williams. He is being held without bail at the Polk County Jail.

Mulberry High School principal Patricia Barnes, who remembers Crispin and his family from the time he spent there, had been holding onto hope that the officer could recover from his injuries.

"He was such a well-loved young man.  A good, good person and your heart just grieves, especially at Christmas time," Barnes said, "everybody liked him."

Police say Crispin is the first officer killed in the line of duty since the 1980's.

Lakeland mayor Gow Fields called it a dark day for the city.

"Our officers, we look to them to protect all of us, and so they're a part of our community family and that's what makes this so much tougher and so much more devastating," he said.

On Tuesday, police found a semi-automatic handgun in a crawl space outside the apartment complex where Crispin was shot. The gun is being sent to a crime lab for testing.

The following funeral arrangements have been planned as of Wednesday:

Viewing/Visitation

Monday, December 26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Church of the Resurrection
3720 Old Rd. 37
Lakeland, FL 33813

Funeral/Graveside Services

Tuesday, December 27 at 10 a.m.
Victory Church
1401 Griffin Rd.
Lakeland, FL 33801
Procession to follow to Oakhill Cemetery

The Lakeland Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Corps, Inc. has established the Arnulfo Crispin Memorial Fund for donations in relation to the shooting of Officer Crispin. Donations can be mailed directly to the Lakeland Police Department at the following address:

Lakeland Police Department
C/O Arnulfo Crispin Memorial Fund
219 N. Massachusetts Ave.
Lakeland, FL 33801

Or, can be made directly to any Well Fargo bank location and indicate they are for the Arnulfo Crispin Memorial Fund.

Previous Story:

LAKELAND, Fla. -- On Tuesday evening, Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack said during a news conference that 25-year-old Officer Arnulfo Crispin will not recover from injuries sustained in a shooting that occured in the line of duty on Sunday.

Officer Crispin was allegedly shot by 19-year-old Kyle Williams after the officer walked up to Williams and two others and asked permission to search them for drugs and weapons. As he patted them down, witnesses say Williams shot the officer one time in the head.

When backup officers arrived a few minutes later, they found Crispin on the ground unresponsive.

With more than 100 of Officer Crispin's co-workers and squad members standing behind her, Chief Womack's voice cracked and she had to pause a moment before saying, "As we grieve, I ask that we lean on each other for help from our friends and our family."

Several of the men and women in uniform struggled to fight back tears. At the same time, Officer Crispin's family was forced to do the unthinkable. Chief Womack said, "The Crispin family is going through the process of making final medical decisions as we speak."

The news came just hours after police officers say they discovered a gun in the crawl space of Jonathan Erazo's apartment at the Crystal Court complex. The space can be accessed from outside the apartment. It's located right next to the park where Officer Crispin was shot.

Erazo says, "I walked out and I saw an officer just searching around for evidence and eventually I guess they found the evidence under my apartment. I have two kids. It doesn't feel safe, so I'm planning on moving on out because it's ridiculous."

Chief Womack has confirmed that a gun was found there but she says the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is examining it. "It is of the same caliber of the murder weapon that we believe but we don't know if it is exactly the murder weapon until after it can be examined."

In the meantime, Womack says the department and the community has suffered a great loss. "Officer Crispin was a young energetic officer. Very dedicated to the profession that he choose. He served this community well and will be sorely missed from this day forward."

Tammie Fields, 10 News

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