6 cops shot in 2 states; one dead
It was a bad day for American law enforcement yesterday. Six policemen in two states were shot – four in Florida and two in Pennsylvania – with the shootings of two policemen in Kissimmee, Florida being described by authorities as an "ambush."
Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard were responding to a suspicious activity call Friday night in Kissimmee. Within minutes, both were shot. Baxter died of his wounds, and Howard is in "grave, critical condition."
Police arrested three people following the shooting, and are searching for a fourth person.
"At this time, we have a strong suspect in custody that we are interviewing," O'Dell said.
Following the news of the shooting, President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the @KissimmeePolice and their loved ones. We are with you!" the President said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott described Baxter as a husband, a father and a hero.
"Heartbroken to hear loss of @kissimmeepolice officer Matthew Baxter. Praying for a quick recovery for officer in critical condition," Scott.
For the record, this is the M.O. of previous police ambushes. The suspect is reported as a "suspicious person," and when the police arrive to investigate, they're gunned down.
Although three suspects are in custody, authorities have yet to identify the race of the killers. Somehow, you have to believe that if they were white supremacists, it would be all over the national news.
Elsewhere, two police officers were shot in Jacksonville, Fla. confronting a suicidal man. Two other officers were shot in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
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 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.
Both were stable and alert, Bondarenka said.
The probable ambush of cops in Kissimmee reminds us that hate is not confined to one race or one ideology and that police are the ones on the front lines actually doing battle with the haters. Almost lost in the narrative about the violence in Charlottesville is that two police officers lost their lives when their helicopter crashed. They have become an afterthought to the main stage drama of racists, Nazis, and Antifa warring in the streets of an American city.
Between the violent haters and us stands the "Thin Blue Line" of dedicated men and women in law enforcement. Theirs is a thankless, dangerous job, made more so by those who wish to kill them to make a political statement. It doesn't matter what color the police officers are – both Kissimmee officers were black. They were targets of violent extremists who wish to make their jobs impossible to carry out.
No doubt, there are many police officers and sheriffs' deputies going to work today wondering if they will be next.