Two Florida police officers are fatally shot responding to incidents

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Two police officers were killed and two wounded in nighttime shootings in two Florida cities where the officers were responding to suspected drug activity and reports of a suicide attempt, police said Saturday.

One officer died shortly after the incident. Officials said the second officer died Saturday afternoon.

In Pennsylvania, two state troopers were shot outside a small-town store in Fairchance, south of Pittsburgh. State police say the troopers, both taken to hospitals after the Friday night shooting in Fairchance, were in stable condition. 

The two Florida officers were killed late Friday night in Kissimmee, just south of the theme park hub of Orlando. Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O'Dell said at a news conference Saturday that a suspect, Everett Miller, was arrested several hours after the shootings.

He faces a first-degree murder charge. Authorities originally said they believed there were four suspects, but the chief said no other arrests are anticipated.

The other two officers were injured a couple of hours later in Jacksonville, one of them shot in both hands and the other in the stomach. The shooter in Jacksonville was shot and killed when police returned fire. 

In Kissimmee, officers Sam Howard and Matthew Baxter were checking suspects in an area of the city for drug activity when they were shot, O'Dell said earlier. 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."

Baxter died later in a hospital and Howard was in serious condition, O'Dell said.

O'Dell said Baxter was a three-year veteran and Howard is a 10-year veteran, CBS affiliate WKMG-TV reports. Both men are husbands and fathers.

"Right now, as you can imagine, (the families) are completely heartbroken and devastated," O'Dell said.

The officers were checking three of the suspects when a fourth opened fire. One of the original three suspects fled and was later arrested. Broadcaster WFTV showed aerial footage of police cars with lights flashing swarmed a housing complex as the search continued early Saturday morning.   

President Trump tweeted early Saturday about the shooting, posting "we are with you!"

In the northern Florida city of Jacksonville, police responded to reports of an attempted suicide at a home where three other people were thought to be in danger, Sheriff's Office Director Mike Bruno said.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) said on Twitter that two police officers were shot in the west side of the city. The officers were responding to an attempted suicide call, JSO Director Mike Bruno told CBS affiliate WJAX-TV.

A team of officers heard gunshots inside and feared "an active shooter situation" so they approached the house, Bruno said. The suspect then came out firing a high-powered rifle. He was shot and killed, and two of the police officers were wounded in the exchange of fire. The three other people in the house were safe, Bruno said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott tweeted about both shootings, writing that he was "heartbroken to hear of the loss" of the Kissimmee officers. About Jacksonville, he wrote he was "praying" for the officers.

When O'Dell held his brief news conference outside the hospital where the two fallen Kissimmee officers had been taken, reports already had surfaced of two more officers shot in Jacksonville to the north. 

"It's a tough time for law enforcement," O'Dell said of those reports. "It's getting tough to do the job."

Police in Pennsylvania told reporters Friday night that the encounter that injured two troopers took place outside a Stop 'n Save in Fairchance, a borough about 52 miles south of Pittsburgh. They say that as the officers approached the man, he pulled out a gun from a backpack and fired it. They confirmed the suspect was shot.

Share this article: