Des Moines, IA (The Des Moines Register) - Two metro-area police officers in Des Moines, Iowa were shot and killed in apparent "ambush style" attacks early Wednesday.
As of 7:30 a.m., police identified Scott Michael Greene as a suspect in the fatal shootings. Police said he should be considered armed and dangerous.
At about 1:06 a.m., police from Urbandale and Des Moines departments responded to a report of gunfire at the intersection of 70th Street and Aurora Avenue.
The first officers arriving on the scene found an Urbandale officer shot. The officer, whose name has not been released, died, said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek in a news release.
At about 1:26 a.m., a Des Moines police officer was shot and killed near the intersection of Merle Hay Road and Sheridan Avenue while responding to the scene where the Urbandale officer was shot.
Both officers were gunned down in their patrol cars.
In a 7:30 a.m. news release, police described Greene, age 46, as 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing about 180 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. He was last known to be driving a blue 2011 Ford F-150 with Iowa license plate 780 YFR. The truck has a silver-colored topper with a ladder rack, police said.
Members of the public are asked to call 911 if they see Greene and to not approach him.
The police departments are wary of officers' safety, as the attack appeared targeted at officers. Des Moines Police has paired up its patrol officers so no officer is on patrol alone, Parizek said.
"There's literally a clear and present danger if you're a police officer," he said.
As of a 5 a.m. press conference, police were still notifying the family members of the slain officers and planned to withhold the officers' names, years of service and other details until later in the day, Parizek said.
Streets at both shooting scenes are closed as officers investigate, and classes have been canceled at Urbandale schools today. In Urbandale, the intersection of 70th Street and Aurora Avenue is closed, and in Des Moines, Merle Hay Road is closed between Urbandale Avenue and Hickman Road.
Police had no information on suspects as of 5 a.m. They could not say how many shots were fired or how many people may have been shooting.
For Des Moines, this is the first police officer shot and killed in the line of duty since two officers were gunned down in separate incidents in 1977.
Two Des Moines officers, Susan Farrell and Carlos Puente-Morales, also died earlier this year when their vehicle was struck head-on by a wrong-way drunken driver.
This is likely the first Urbandale officer shot in the line of duty, Urbandale Police spokesman Sgt. Chad Underwood said at the press conference.
Parizek thanked the community for its support when the department lost Farrell and Puente-Morales, as well as with this tragedy.
"I don't even know where to begin on how bad this year is," he said. But, "This is what we do. We come in day in and day out, we go out there and provide the same level of service regardless of what's going on in our personal and professional lives."
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad released this statement Wednesday morning:
“An attack on public safety officers is an attack on the public safety of all Iowans. We call on Iowans to support our law enforcement officials in bringing this suspect to justice. 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.”
Sen. Joni Ernst said, "My thoughts and prayers are with the two Iowa police officers who were killed in the line of duty, as well as their families and the entire Iowa law enforcement community as they face this devastating loss.
"Although the investigation is still unfolding, what appears to be an ambush attack of police in the line of duty is an attack on the community at large and all of the men and women who risk their lives every day to protect us. This was a senseless act of violence and it cannot be tolerated."
Rep. David Young said, "My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two officers who were killed this morning in cowardly and senseless attacks. As we continue to learn more about these horrific shootings, we must stand together united as a community to ensure whoever is responsible is brought to justice. I’ve been in contact with - and offered our support to - local and state officials to help provide any federal assistance needed. May God bless and protect our brave men and women who serve to protect us each day."