Six police officers were shot, one of them fatally, in three separate gun incidents in Florida and Pennsylvania late Friday, officials said.
One officer was killed and another gravely injured in Kissimmee, 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.
In Kissimmee, officers Sam Howard and Matthew Baxter were checking suspects in an part of the city for drug activity when they were shot, Kissimmee Police Main Jeff O’Dell said in a news conference. These people did not have an opportunity to return fire.
“They were surprised, ” O’Dell said. When asked regardless of whether they were ambushed, this individual said, “It’s too early to tell, but it can leading that way. ”
Baxter, a three-year veteran of the department, died later on inside a hospital and Howard, a 10-year veteran, has been in serious condition, O’Dell said. Baxter, who has been married to another officer, has three young children.
The officers were looking at three of the suspects when a fourth opened fire. One of the original three suspects fled and was being wanted, and the other three were arrested. Broadcaster WFTV showed aerial footage of police cars with lamps flashing swarmed a housing complex as the research continued early Saturday morning.
Mayor Jose Alvarez stated in a statement: “Our thoughts and prayers proceed 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.
— Kissimmee Police (@kissimmeepolice) August 19, 2017
“The entire city of Kissimmee is in mourning. We pray for all those law enforcement that are out there, protecting our community. ”
Chief executive Donald Trump tweeted that his “thoughts and prayers” were with the local police “and their adored ones. ”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2017
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 started 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 life-flighted from the scene to a hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia and the other was taken to a hospital via ambulance, NBC station WPXI reported.