Officer David Crawford
St. Petersburg, Florida - He was described as tough, strong and fiercely loyal.
Photo Gallery: Memorial Service of Officer David Crawford
But, the description that quite possibly got the most smiles during the funeral service for David Crawford was "cat man." Yes, this burly officer who settled domestic disputes on a daily basis, worked the midnight shift and carried a gun loved cats.
He had seven of them.
Each day, Officer Crawford couldn't wait to get home and see his feline friends. It was a two-hour commute to and from St. Pete from his Citrus County home, the same one his father built years ago. It gave him comfort to be there.
Every morning, he would return to his cats and the love of his life, Donna. The country life suited him well.
His partner of 13 years, Officer Thad "Stu" Crisco, says his friend had a kind heart.
"I stand here a broken man," said Officer Crisco. "They saw this grumpy barnacle covered person, those who knew him know that Dave was a soft guy inside, quick with a smile or laugh."
Officer Crisco joked that he and his buddy worked midnights for the majority of their careers and loved it.
They called themselves the "Black Sheep Squad."
Wiping away tears, Officer Crisco said, "The Black Sheep lost one of its flock, and it can not be replaced. I will have a hole in my heart forever for the loss of my friend, Dave,"
When the two first met, Officer Crawford joked with his friend. He told him, "Welcome to the world of misfits," when Crisco joined the squad.
"The two remaining people were always Dave and I. People would say, 'Why don't you guys get off nights and go to day shift?' It fit our disposition," said Officer Crisco.
During the funeral, Officer Crisco teared up when remembering his longtime friend. "He always looked forward to February, when baseball and Nascar started."
Officer Crawford worked security part-time at Tropicana Field. He joked that "he got paid to watch baseball."
During the service, Chief Chuck Harmon addressed Crawford's wife and daughter. "Folks I want to thank most are Donna, Amanda and the rest of Dave's family. Thank you for sharing him with us for 25 years."
After the service, Officer Crawford's daughter, Amanda, was instrumental in remembering her father in one of the most symbolic and beautiful ways. She helped to release the doves into the air.
Mayor Bill Foster said, "Our wounds had not yet healed, our nerves were exposed, and bodies were numb. We cried out, 'Lord, not again, not our officer, not again.' What has happened to our beloved St. Petersburg?"
One moment of the day seemed to also bring about tears and heavy hearts: the performance of the bagpipes.
Officer Crawford's favorite song, he always said, was "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. He often said that it was the most beautiful thing in the world.
It was fitting on Tuesday that the song he loved so dearly would be the very one that was played as the casket was placed in the hearse.
To serve was his calling, and to protect was his nature.
Officer David Crawford, you will be missed. Your service to this community was invaluable. You gave your life without hesitation or pause.
Melanie Michael, 10 News