Officer David S. Crawford, 46, is the third St. Petersburg officer killed in shootings in the last 28 days, according to police.
“It hurts. It stings. This killer has taken somebody very precious to us, a member of our family,” Chief Chuck Harmon told reporters.
Crawford, a 25-year police veteran assigned to the patrol division, was summoned along with another officer to the home of a caller who said a man was in his backyard holding a broken brick.
Crawford drove around until he spotted the man, parked his car and approached the suspect, Harmon said.
Moments later, the second officer reported gunfire and told dispatchers that Crawford had been shot. Harmon said Crawford was shot multiple times at close range.
Crawford returned fire, but police have found no evidence suggesting he was able to wound his attacker, according to a statement early Tuesday by St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt.
The statement said that “many police units” were conducting a search of the area and that several streets would remain closed until further notice.