On Sunday, three police officers were shot in what appear to be ambush-style attacks and another was shot after pursuing a suspect who fled a routine traffic stop. One of the officers is dead and another is in critical but stable condition, having suffered two bullet wounds in the face. Two of the officers have been treated and released.
In the first six months of 2016, shooting deaths of police officers had spiked an alarming 78 percent compared to the previous year, with 32 officers shot dead in firearms-related incidents — 14 of those in ambush-style attacks. The number of ambush killings has spiked again over the last few months, three more attacks added to the number on Sunday alone.
Just before noon, a veteran San Antonio Special Victims Unit officer was shot and killed while performing a routine traffic stop near the police headquarters downtown. At around 7:30 p.m., a St. Louis sergeant was shot twice in the face while sitting in his patrol car. Shortly before 8 p.m., an officer in Sanibel, Florida was also shot following a routine traffic stop. Around 10:30 p.m., an officer in Gladstone, Missouri was shot by the suspect after he fled from a traffic stop. Here's what we know so far about the four police shootings.
SAN ANTONIO SHOOTING
1. The officer was shot and killed ambush-style near the police headquarters.
Veteran San Antonio officer, Detective Benjamin Marconi, 50 — a 20-year-veteran of the force — was shot and killed ambush-style while performing a routine traffic stop downtown near the police headquarters.
"SAPD Chief William McManus said the shooting occurred on the south side of SAPD headquarters, at 11:45 a.m. where the officer, identified as Detective Benjamin Marconi, 50, was issuing a traffic citation," a local San Antonio outlet reports. "As he did so, a black vehicle pulled up behind the officer's unit. The suspect got out of the car, walked up to the passenger window and fired one round into the patrol car, hitting Marconi in the head, McManus said. He said the suspect reached in and fired again, hitting Marconi a second time. The suspect then drove off, McManus said."
2. The suspect is still at large.
The police department has launched a city-wide search for the suspect, whom they describe as "a dark-skinned male, 5-feet, 7 inches to 6-feet tall, wearing a gray shirt and black pants," driving a "black mid-size sedan with chrome wheels." Police confirmed that suspect is the man featured in the following photo from surveillance footage leaked on Facebook Sunday afternoon:
"Right now we are looking for a possible motive. We are looking for video footage that may help us identify this individual," said McManus, adding, "It's always difficult, especially in this day and age, where police are being targeted across the country."
Crime Stoppers is offering up to $10,000 for information which leads to the arrest of the suspect or suspects.
ST. LOUIS SHOOTING
1. The suspect pulled up in a car and opened fire on the officer's SUV.
A 20-year veteran St. Louis police sergeant, 46, was shot twice in the face in an ambush-style attack at around 7:30 p.m. Sunday when the suspect pulled his car next to the sergeant's parked SUV. The sergeant believed the suspect was simply going to ask a question, but when he rolled down his window, the suspect opened fire.
"He was targeted because he was a police officer," Mayor Francis Slay said at a press conference on Sunday. "He didn’t stop anybody. He didn’t point a gun at anybody."
When fellow officers found him, he was sitting in his SUV with his seatbelt still fastened and gun in his holster.
"He didn’t have time to react to this threat," Police Chief Sam Dotson said adding, "The officer says he saw the muzzle flashes and felt the glass breaking in his window as the shots came through and struck him in the head."
2. The officer is in critical but stable condition.
The police sergeant is in critical yet stable condition, with bullets lodged in his cheek and nose.
3. The suspect was shot and killed in a shootout with police early Monday.
St. Louis Today reports that the suspect was shot and killed early Monday after he opened fire on undercover officers who were tracking him:
Undercover officers had found the suspect's car abandoned at a parking garage at Laclede's Landing, police said. A woman had picked him up there and officers tracked their vehicle to the intersection of Smiley and Leola avenues in St. Louis. The suspect, about 19 years old, apparently realized he was being followed, jumped out of the car and fired a shot at the officers, striking the windshield of their pickup truck.
The suspect ran and officers pursued. He was killed in front of a house about 100 yards up the street, police said, about 12:45 a.m.
1. The officer was shot in a drive-by shooting while completing a routine traffic stop.
Similar to the St. Louis shooting, a Sanibel officer was shot while sitting in his patrol car. The incident, which took place at around 8 p.m., is being described as a "drive-by shooting." The officer was completing a routine traffic stop when the suspect opened fire from a vehicle. According to Sanibel City Police Chief Bill Tomlinson, the attack was the first ambush of an officer ever recorded on the island. The officer has been treated and released from the hospital.
2. The suspect is in custody after exchanging fire with officers.
"Other officers later exchanged shots with a suspect," News-Press reports, and the suspect has now been taken into custody. "Earlier, Sanibel police were being assisted by units from the Lee County Sheriff's Office and were searching the Dunes neighborhood of Sanibel," the outlet reports.
A Gladstone, Missouri officer was shot after he stopped a suspect for a traffic violation. The officer has been treated and released. The suspect was killed in a struggle with police.
A Kansas City Fox News-affiliate describes the encounter:
According to Kari Thompson with the Kansas City Police Department, which is conducting the investigation, a Gladstone officer stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation around 10:34 p.m., at Vivion Road and U.S. 169. Police say the passenger ran from the vehicle and Gladstone officers pursued the suspect on foot.
As officers attempted to take the suspect into custody, a struggle ensued. During the struggle, the suspect displayed a handgun, shots were fired and the suspect, who is described as a man in his late teens, was fatally wounded.
The series of attacks has led some to question if the attacks were somehow coordinated, though no evidence to that effect has yet emerged.
This article has been updated for clarity.