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Services set for slain St. Petersburg officers

ST. PETERSBURG — A joint viewing and funeral have been set for the two St. Petersburg police officers fatally shot Monday, police said.

The viewing for Sgt. Thomas J. Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz is Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1900 Gandy Blvd., said police spokesman Mike Puetz. The funeral will be Friday at 11 a.m. at the same church.

"This town wants to support our police department and this is the place. Right here. No questions," said pastor Austin Ganly said.

Baitinger and Yaslowitz were shot to death while assisting a fugitive task force seeking fugitive Hydra Lacy Jr.

Puetz said police expect to fill the church and are making plans for overflow parking. Law enforcement from across the Tampa Bay area and Florida are expected to attend.

"At this point, we're still working out the details," Puetz said.

Ganly said he expects more than 4,000 people to attend.

The sanctuary can hold 1,500 people, Ganly said. Other guests will sit in two other halls — each has a capacity of about 400 — and the church's lobby area.

He said First Baptist Church has served as the location for other large services. "We're ready," he said.

Baitinger and Yaslowitz both were married.

Yaslowitz, 39, is survived by his wife, Lorraine, 40, and his children: Caleb, 12; Haylie, 8; and Calen, 5. He also leaves behind his canine partner, Ace.

Baitinger, 48, and his wife, Paige, had no children, but loved kids.

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