PLANT CITY, Fla. — To the public, 25-year-old Arnulfo Crispin is the Lakeland Police officer who was shot and killed Sunday night as he checked out a suspicious situation. But to the Plant City Futbol Club, he’s the guy who would have taken to the soccer field with a smile on his face and a message for his teammates.
“The children all speak about how he always taught players and children in general that you do not have to do what is wrong,” states Stephen Rossiter, president of Plant City FC. ”You can go do what is right. Believe in who you are. Be confident in who you are.”
For the 12 years that Rossiter has been part of Plant City FC, he can always remember Crispin being there. Most recently, Crispin played with the Latin League on Saturday nights. That’s why the club and the community wanted to come together and raise money for his family through a soccer event in Plant City on Saturday.
“He would always be out here every weekend,” states his cousin, Alan Crispin. “He was real good.”
Alan Crispin was among Arnulfo’s teammates when he played soccer at Mulberry High School. On Saturday, they reunited to remember him.
“I know he would want this,” Alan Crispin says.
When Arnulfo Crispin was shot, his neighbor, Lee Chadderdon, hoped to raise money for him through “Get Well” shirts. He never expected to have to change that message to “Rest in Peace.”
“It was hard to find out that he was not going to make it,” Chadderdon says.
He and several others are selling shirts, but it’s no competition. They all want to ensure that his family has the money they need.
Plant City FC also plans to make this weekend’s gathering into an annual event called the Crispin Memorial Tournament. They hope to turn this tragedy into a celebration of life.
“We look out on this field and see Arnulfo Crispin’s spirit playing out there at each and every game that we have,” Rossiter says.
If you are interested in purchasing a shirt in Arnulfo Crispin’s honor, you can contact Lee Chadderdon.
There will be a public viewing for him on Monday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Resurrection Church.
The funeral will take place on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Victory Church located off Griffin Road in Lakeland.
If you’d like to make a donation, the family is asking for the money to go to the Lakeland Police Department.
You can also drop off a check at any Wells Fargo Bank location.
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