A police officer has been fatally shot in Texas, and another in Missouri was shot in the face but is expected to survive, in what authorities are calling the latest in a series of targeted attacks on law enforcement.
The detective in San Antonio, Texas, was writing out a traffic ticket when he was shot to death in his squad car late Sunday morning outside police headquarters, authorities said. In St. Louis, Missouri, a police sergeant was hospitalized in critical condition Sunday evening after he was shot twice while he sat in traffic in a marked police vehicle.
The attacks come less than five months after a gunman killed five officers at a protest in Dallas – the deadliest day for American law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001.
Race was a factor in that attack. Police have not said if race played a part in any of the attacks on Sunday. In San Antonio, police say the suspect is black and the officer was white. In St. Louis, the suspect was black. Police have not released the race of the officer he shot.
San Antonio police Chief William McManus identified the officer killed Sunday as Benjamin Marconi, 50, a 20-year veteran of the force.
Police said the search for a male suspect was still underway early Monday and that no arrest has been made. McManus said he doesn’t believe the suspect has any relationship to the original motorist who was pulled over, and that no motive has been identified.
At a news conference late Monday morning, McManus said Marconi was killed because he was a police officer.
“I feel we were targeted,” he told reporters, adding later: “I think the uniform was the target.”
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson declined to name the 46-year-old officer on his force who was shot in the face, but said he is a married father of three who has been with the department for about 20 years.
“This officer was driving down the road and was ambushed by an individual who pointed a gun at him from inside of his car and shot out the police officer’s window,” Dotson said during a news conference.
“Fortunately, for the blessing of God, the officer’s going to survive,” he said.
Police reported early Monday that the suspect, who was wanted for other violent crimes, was later killed in a shootout with police.
At least two other police officers were also shot in other cities Sunday night, but it wasn’t clear whether the incidents were targeted attacks.
An officer with the Gladstone, Missouri, police department near Kansas City was shot, while the suspect was shot and killed. A Sanibel, Florida, officer was shot in the shoulder during a traffic stop, and was treated for his injuries and released.
On July 7, Micah Johnson shot and killed five law enforcement officers who had been working to keep the peace at a protest in downtown Dallas about the fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana. Ten days after that attack, a man wearing a ski mask and armed with two rifles and a pistol killed three officers near a gas station and convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And earlier this month, two Des Moines, Iowa-area police officers were fatally shot in separate ambush-style attacks while sitting in their patrol cars.
“It’s always difficult, especially in this this day and age, where police are being targeted across the country,” McManus said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the slaying of Marconi a “horrific act of violence.” Abbott said in a statement that “attacks against law enforcement officers will not be tolerated in Texas and must be met with swift justice.”
by Jamie Stengle and Jim Salter (AP)