Father of Florida Teen Issues Tearful Apology for Son's Alleged Killing of Police Officer

VIDEO: Officials say a 16-year-old confessed to killing a St. Petersburg, Fla., officer.
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A Florida teenager appeared in court this morning after giving a tearful and emotional confession to police that he killed a St. Petersburg police officer Monday night.

Nicholas Lemmon Lindsey, 16, a tenth-grader at Gibbs High School, turned himself into authorities Tuesday night after a nearly day-long manhunt for a suspect in the shooting death of Officer David Crawford.

In a Pinellas County courtroom, the teen showed little emotion until his father, also named Nicholas, broke into tears as he apologized for the killing.

"On behalf of me, my son and my entire family, we send our deepest condolences and sympathy to the family and his colleagues that he worked with," the elder Nicholas Lindsey said. "This is my only son and I'm sorry that it happened."

After making the comments, the father covered his eyes with his hand and continued to cry. As the younger Nicholas left the courtroom, he held a tissue in his hand to wipe away tears. Nicholas is being held without bail.

Nicholas has been appointed a public defender. It is unclear whether he will be charged as an adult.

"At this point, this will be a decision made by the state attorney after a review and evaluation of the facts and circumstances," Circuit Judge James Raymond said.

The teenager lived with his mother and brothers in an apartment and went by the nickname Lil' Nick, family members told ABC Affiliate WFTS.

"As a mother, I knew something was wrong," Deneen Sweat told WFTS. "I told my son, man up and tell what happened."

Sweat reportedly suspected her son might have been involved in the shooting after hearing the description of the suspect, she told the St. Petersburg Times. Sweat was with her son when he confessed to police.

"When he did make the admission on tape for us at the end of the day, it was quite apparent that he was remorseful in his actions," Police Chief Chuck Harmon said during a late-night news conference Tuesday. "He cried."

Nicholas confessed to aiming at Crawford's stomach and firing with a gun he bought for $140 off the street last week, police said at a news conference today.

The teen allegedly told police he didn't know how many times he fired at Crawford. Police said he fired at least four rounds.

Police said Crawford, 46, was pulling out his notebook when Nicholas fired. Crawford managed to fire six rounds from his Glock, police said, adding that none of the bullets hit Nicholas.

Crawford was responding to a call of a prowler near Tropicana Field Monday night when he was shot, police said. Nicholas was allegedly attempting to steal a Dodge Neon.

After shooting Crawford, the teen fled from the scene and threw his gun in a creek, police said.

Police said another officer found Crawford on the ground. The 25-year veteran was pronounced dead at Bayfront Medical Center.

Nicholas has a prior record with the juvenile justice system, including charges of grand theft auto, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

Judge Raymond said the boy had previously been involved in the juvenile system's truancy court.

Gibbs High School Principal Kevin Gordon told the St. Petersburg Times that the teen had missed 42 days of school this year.

While the teen had gotten in trouble, he'd also been praised for his efforts to quell gang violence. Mayor Bill Foster told the St. Petersburg Times that he had met with the boy a few months ago at his home.

Sweat, the boy's mom, told the St. Petersburg Times that the mayor had come because her son had counseled teens against participating in gang violence.

Teen Accused of Killing Cop Calls Himself 'Young Savage'

The boy's Facebook page shows him with a wad of cash in his mouth and a tattooed arm held up to show his watch. He refers to himself as 'Young Savage' in his profile.

Friends of the teen have formed a Facebook group called "Free Nick."

The slain officer, Crawford, was eligible for retirement. He leaves behind an adult daughter and a wife.

"It breaks my heart," police chief Harmon said. "When you have something like this happen, you don't expect this type of confrontation between a 16-year-old and a police officer to end like this."

Crawford is the third police officer to die in St. Petersburg in less than a month. The city had seen no police deaths in 30 years until last month when two police officers were ambushed by bullets in an attic of a home.

The officers had gone to the home to interview a relative of someone wanted for aggravated battery.

ABC News' Russell Goldman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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