Two More Florida Cops Killed While Miami Mourns Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth

A horrible week for Florida's police officers turned even worse this afternoon. While thousands gathered in downtown Miami to remember Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth, the Miami-Dade veteran cops killed in Liberty City last week, two officers in St. Petersburg were gunned down in chillingly similar fashion.

Just like Haworth and Castillo, the two St. Pete officers were killed while trying to serve a warrant on a violent, convicted felon.

"It is a very disturbing trend for all of us," Hal Johnson, a lawyer for the Florida Police Benevolent Association, tells CNN. "Florida has never seen a streak like this. I don't think anybody has."

This afternoon started with a funeral procession for Haworth and Castillo that shut down traffic through a large part of Miami.

Mourners turned out in droves to remember the officers, who were killed on Thursday by Johnny Sims, a 23-year-old wanted for murder just a month after his release from prison on a cocaine conviction.

When they entered his mother's duplex in Liberty City to arrest Sims, the felon surprised them and killed both officers with a Glock. Sims was later killed in a shootout.

As Haworth and Castillo were memorialized in Miami, an eerily similar crime played out across the state in St. Pete.

Two officers, identified by the St. Petersburg Times as Tom Baitinger and Jeffrey Yaslowitz, entered a house in the Perry Bayview neighborhood looking for Hydra Lacey Jr., a registered sex offender.

Lacey -- who had earned a 15 year prison term for sexual battery -- was holed up in an attic. When the officers tried to arrest him, he started shooting. Baitinger and Yaslowitz died on the scene and a U.S. Marshal was wounded.

Lacey was killed after an hours-long standoff with police.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink