In Memory of K-9/TAC Team Officer Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz
January 24, 2011
On January 24, 2011, at 6:58 a.m., a St. Petersburg Police Department’s undercover detective, Deputy U.S. Marshall Scott Ley, and a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Undercover Deputy went to a home to interview the wife of a wanted fugitive. The three investigators learned the fugitive was hiding in the attic and requested assistance.
K-9/TAC Team Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz was dispatched to the house and arrived five minutes later.
Jeff and Deputy U.S. Marshall Ley used a telescoping tactical mirror with light to scan the inside of the attic but they did not see anyone. They entered the attic and checked the area around the attic entrance but still did not see anyone. The Deputy U.S. Marshall came down from the attic but went back up when he heard Jeff challenge the suspect, who was hiding by lying face down on the rafters.
The suspect told Jeff he was giving up. The suspect began moving toward the attic opening in response to Jeff’s verbal commands. Jeff moved close to the suspect to handcuff him when suddenly the suspect began struggling with him. The suspect shot Jeff twice and he fell mortally wounded inside the attic.
The suspect then shot Deputy U.S. Marshall Ley twice, causing him to fall through the attic entrance.
At 7:29 a.m., officers on the scene radioed for help, reporting gunshots and officer down.
Sergeant Thomas Baitinger and a rescue team of officers entered the house but they were unable to reach Jeff. Sergeant Baitinger was shot and killed during the rescue. Officers on the scene removed Sergeant Baitinger and the wounded Deputy U.S. Marshall from the house. The Deputy U.S. Marshall survived his injuries.
The Department’s Tactical Apprehension and Control (TAC) team responded and entered the house during an exchange of gunfire with the suspect. They pulled Jeff from the attic, placed him in an ambulance and transported him to Bayfront Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Jeff was born on July 14, 1971, in Mount Kisco, New York. He moved to Pinellas County in 1985. He attended Countryside High School but later transferred to and graduated from Northside Christian School. He played wide receiver and defensive back for the football team during his senior year.
Jeff attended Florida Southern College and then transferred to Palm Beach Atlantic University where he graduated with a BS degree in Psychology in 1993. Jeff met Lorraine at the university and they were married on August 7, 1993.
Jeff joined the St. Petersburg Police Department on April 14, 1999. He served in several positions in Patrol and became a member of the TAC Team. In December 2008, he joined the K-9 unit where he and his canine partner, Ace, were an outstanding team. Jeff was very athletic and enjoyed playing on the Department’s flag football team for the past ten years. He was a man of faith and passion who always lived life to the fullest measure.