Six police officers were shot, one of them fatally, in three separate incidents in Florida and Pennsylvania late Friday, officials said.
One officer was killed and another gravely injured in Kissimmee around 9:30 p.m., just south of the theme park hub of Orlando, central Florida.
Two officers were critically wounded in Jacksonville, while two state troopers were shot in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
n Kissimmee, officers Sam Howard and Matthew Baxter were checking suspects in an area of the city for drug activity when they were shot, Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell said at a news conference. They did not have an opportunity to return fire.
“They were surprised,” O’Dell said. When asked whether they were ambushed, he said, “It’s too early to tell, but it’s leading that way.”
Police later arrested and charged suspect Everett Glenn Miller, 45, with first degree murder.
“There may have been some type of scuffle, ending in the shooting that took Officer Baxter’s life,” O’Dell said. He added that Miller does not seem to have an extensive criminal history.
Baxter, a three-year veteran of the department, died later at a hospital. The 27-year-old was married to another officer and father to four young children.
Howard, a 10-year veteran, is still in serious condition.
“There is not much hope that he will survive this,” O’Dell said.
The officers were checking three of the suspects when Miller allegedly opened fire and fled. He was later identified and arrested by the sheriff’s office and initially charged with having two concealed weapons.
“This is devastating to law enforcement and heart breaking,” O’Dell said. “They were the epitome of what you ask for in law enforcement officers.”
O’Dell said the officers were not wearing body cameras at the time of the shooting.
President Donald Trump tweeted that his “thoughts and prayers” were with the local police “and their loved ones.”
Mayor Jose Alvarez said in a statement: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of our fallen officer, Matthew Baxter who lost his life in the line of duty. Our prayers also go out to Sergeant Sam Howard and his family as he remains in critical condition.
“The entire city of Kissimmee is in mourning. We pray for all law enforcement who are out there, protecting our community.”
In Jacksonville, police officers were responding to a call about an attempted suicide at a house. Gunfire was heard from outside the property as officers arrived, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Director of Patrol and Enforcement Mike Bruno told NBC News.
Before officers even entered the house, the suspect began shooting at them through the doorway and there was an exchange of gunfire in which two officers were struck, one of them in the stomach, Bruno said.
The suspect is dead and it’s not yet known if body cameras were worn or activated.
In Pennsylvania, two troopers were shot and a suspect killed after an incident near a store on West Church Street, Fairchance, Fayette County, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Melinda Bondarenka said in a statement.
One of the troopers was air-lifted from the scene to a hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia and the other was taken to a hospital via ambulance, NBC station WPXI reported.
Both were stable and alert, Bondarenka said.
Source: NBC News
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