ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Bagpipes played as friends, family and loved ones gathered at the First Baptist Church in St. Petersburg Tuesday morning to honor the life of Officer David Crawford.
Crawford, who who was killed in the line of duty on February 21 while responding to a call, is the third St. Petersburg Police Officer killed in the line of duty in the last 30 days.
Dignitaries in attendance included Governor Rick Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Friends and co-workers remembered Officer Crawford as a family man and leader in the department who preferred to work nights.
"Dave was a very good officer," his friend and partner Officer Thad "Stu" Crisco remembered.
"He was a straight forward person...he didn't beat around the bush," Crisco continued.
Officer Chuck Tatem knew Crawford. "He was like a big teddy bear. Gruff on the outside, but a heart of gold."
That heart and the ability to listen is likely what allowed Officer Crawford to become a champion for domestic violence victims.
"Dave had a real gift of communication," St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon recalled.
He also loved sports. Officer Crawford often worked the first base line at Tampa Bay Rays games before his scheduled shifts as an officer.
If he wasn't able to work a game, fans and players would ask his replacement, "Where's Dave?"
When he wasn't at work, Officer Crawford was at home in Citrus County with his wife, Donna. He also had an adult daughter, Amanda, who "was the jewel of his eye," his friend and former colleague Army Sgt. First Class David Deholyos remembered.
Officer Crawford died while investigating a report of a prowler. A day later, a teenager was charged with his murder.
Less than a month before, two St. Petersburg officers, Jeffrey Yaslowitz and Thomas Baitinger, were killed while searching for a fugitive.
Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats summed it up as best he could, "Tampa Bay has had more than its share of officer killings. I wish I knew the answer. It's unfortunate that so many people have such a disregard for human life."
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.