It’s a horrible tragedy that is becoming all too common in America.
Two Des Moines, Iowa police officers were brutally murdered early Wednesday in separate ambush-style attacks while they were sitting in their patrol cars.
Officers responded to a report of shots fired at 1:06 a.m. and found an Urbandale Police Department officer who had been shot. Authorities from several agencies saturated the area after that shooting, and about 20 minutes later discovered that a Des Moines officer had been shot in a patrol car at an intersection, Des Moines Sgt. Paul Parizek said. The killings happened less than 2 miles apart and both took place along main streets that cut through residential areas.
The shootings follow a spate of police ambushes, including the murders of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Five officers were killed in Dallas on July 7 and three were killed later that month in Baton Rouge.
Des Moines and Urbandale Police later said in a statement that they had identified 46-year-old Scott Michael Greene as a suspect in the killings, and announced at around 10:30am that Greene was in custody.
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Urbandale Sgt. Chad Underwood said he believes this is the first time an officer in his department has been shot in the line of duty.
Urbandale officers are equipped with body cameras, but they don’t run constantly and it’s unclear whether there was video of the shootings.
The attacks on police this summer in Dallas and Baton Rouge came in the wake of several high-profile police shootings of black men, fueling a national debate about police use of force – a frequent topic in the nation’s presidential race.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has argued that police need the freedom to use greater force, while Democrat Hillary Clinton says officers need to be restrained.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad called the killings Wednesday, “an attack on the public safety of all Iowans.”
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the police officers who were tragically killed in the line of duty as well as the officers who continue to put themselves in harm’s way.”
Urbandale is a suburb of about 40,000 people in the Des Moines metro area with about 50 officers. Officials in Urbandale cancelled school for the day. Des Moines has about 375 sworn officers.
The Associated Press contributed to this article