ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - After changing his story several times, 16-year-old Nicholas Lindsey finally told investigators that he murdered St. Petersburg Police Officer David Crawford Monday night, according to Chief Chuck Harmon.
Three "pretty significant tips" led detectives to Lindsey, who made the admission Tuesday evening.
"He was brought in voluntarily, on his own, with his parents permission," Harmon said.
After several hours of questioning, Lindsey gave a taped admission that matched evidence and eyewitness accounts that detectives had gathered.
"It was quite apparent he was remorseful in his actions. He cried," Harmon said.
Lindsey has prior arrests for property crimes, but no violence was involved. It's not known how he obtained the gun allegedly used to kill Officer Crawford.
"It's hard. Even though this is a 16-year-old kid that we're discussing, he still murdered a police officer." Harmon said. Lindsey faces a first-degree murder charge.
The teen is expected to appear in court sometime today. He's currently being held in the Juvenile Detention Center and could be charged as an adult. That decision is in the hands of the State Attorney's Office.
Harmon said it appeared no one else was involved in the crime.
Officer Crawford, 46, died after being shot multiple times in the chest while investigating a report of a prowler around 10:30 p.m. Monday near 3rd Avenue South and 8th Street South.
"I heard seven to nine shots all in a row and I ran outside and around the corner to see the commotion," said Fred Evans who lives in the area. "I saw someone running away really fast. I don't know if it was someone trying to flee the gunshots or the suspect."
Officer Crawford was not wearing a bulletproof vest.
He was pronounced dead at Bayfront Medical Center.
An intense manhunt for his killer covered dozens of blocks near downtown St. Petersburg. Some 200 law enforcement officers were involved in the search.
Three schools were closed and numerous bus routes were affected during the manhunt.
A $100,000 reward was offered, but it's not clear if the money was the motivation for the tips that led to Lindsey's arrest. "I hope that it gave some incentive," Harmon said. "But you also hope on the other side that people would do the right thing and turn him in."
Officer Crawford was a 25-year veteran and had spent his entire career with the department.
He is survived by his wife, Donna, and his 24-year-old daughter Amanda.
The Department is still mourning the loss of Sergeant Thomas Baitinger and K-9 Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz. Both were killed by wanted fugitive Hydra Lacy, Jr. on January 24.
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