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Police officer's widow says she begged husband to get vaccinated

St. Petersburg Police Officer Michael Weiskopf died from COVID-19 on Aug. 27, 2021.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Exactly three weeks ago, St. Petersburg lost one of their protectors. Police officer Michael Weiskopf died from COVID-19.

He was not vaccinated, and his wife did not shy away about the facts of her husband's death.

At his funeral on Aug. 31, Karen Weiskopf addressed the crowd saying, "He remained steadfast in his beliefs that he did not know what was in the vaccine. Mike wished he had been vaccinated when the virus became too much to bear and we cried together and prayed.”

Karen Weiskopf requested a vaccine clinic be held outside her husband's funeral. Nine people got vaccinated.

10 Tampa Bay reporter Liz Crawford had an intimate conversation with Karen Weiskopf about her grief and why it was so important to her to share the truth about her husband's death.

"It just came through me. If I could save someone," said Karen, who was hesitant about the vaccine herself but ended up getting vaccinated in the Spring.

When the delta variant surged, Karen pleaded with her husband.

"How am I going to live without you? I said it numerous times. How am I going to live without you? He was like no, please, please," said Karen.

Officer Weiskopf was 52-years-old and had been with St. Pete police since 2003. He's one of five Tampa Bay law enforcement officers to lose his life to COVID since Aug. 23.

Other fallen officers include a Polk County deputy, a Manatee corrections deputy, Hernando detective, and just this week Tampa police announced the death of Officer Matthew Coleman. The men ranged in ages from 32 to 67.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, COVID-19 was the number one killer of law enforcement officers both last year and this year. 

So far in 2021, Florida has lost 34 law enforcement officers, 25 of them have been due to COVID.