Palm Beach Atlantic University mourns the loss of one of its alumni, Jeffrey Yaslowitz '93, a St. Petersburg Police K-9 officer who died on Monday during a standoff with an armed man.
Earlier this week, PBA President Lu Hardin called the University community to prayer. He also spoke by phone with members of the Yaslowitz family.
Yaslowitz earned a degree in psychology from PBA in 1993. His wife, Lorraine Gallione, studied elementary education from 1989 to 1992 at PBA. She later became a kindergarten teacher.
Dr. Billy Lewter, professor of psychology at PBA, recalled Yaslowitz as a good student. He did his practicum work at Timber Trace Elementary School working in the school's after-care program, Dr. Lewter said.
Friends describe Yaslowitz as a student who was athletic, studious and caring. Chris Rosa '94 met Yaslowitz in 1990 at Palm Beach Atlantic, and the two immediately became friends through intramural sports.
Rosa said he remembers Yaslowitz as a great athlete "with moves that left you standing in place when he ‘juked' right by you," he said.
"What I remember most vividly about Jeff was his always helpful nature," he said, describing him as calm, never impatient and always in control.
The two went through lifeguard training together, and they did a Workship project at the Juvenile Detention Center, Rosa said. "From the first time he spoke about being a police officer, this was a way for him to really begin to make a difference with helping others who had taken the wrong path at such an early age."
Another classmate, Yudha Hermawan '94, also remembered playing intramural football with Yaslowitz. "He was quiet but confident as a teammate and always gave his best," he said. "When I asked Jeff to let me run the ball, he would do it."
An international student from Indonesia, Hermawan recalls Yaslowitz introducing him to his favorite professional sports teams.
"He was a big Celtics fan as well as the Red Sox," Hermawan said. "He had a Larry Bird poster on the wall. Jeff told me how great a player he was."
Weight-lifting was another of his passions, said David Craig '92, who was Yaslowitz's roommate for two years. The two were part of a group of friends that worked out daily.
Craig said he was surprised when he learned that Yaslowitz wanted to become a police officer. "But then I realized that he was probably perfect for that because of what a caring, concerned person he was. I know that he was the finest policeman you would find, just because of his nature of wanting to help, and also his physical strength and speed on his feet," he said, describing Yaslowitz as "very athletic."
Yaslowitz, 39, and St. Petersburg Police Sgt. Thomas Baitinger, 48, were killed during the shooting, which also claimed the life of the apparent gunman, Hydra Lacy Jr. Yaslowitz is survived by his wife, Lorraine, 40, and his children: Caleb, 12; Haylie, 8; and Calen, 5.
A U.S. Marshal also was wounded during the incident, which occurred Monday while police were trying to serve a warrant on Lacy. Witnesses said Lacy was hiding in an attic and began shooting when police arrived.
A memorial service for Yaslowitz and Baitinger will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg. Visitation will be at from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the church.