Ambush-style killings increase in the US as police officers become targets for shootings

By wires, Staff writers

Sixty police officers were shot dead on the job this year. Photo / 123rf
Sixty police officers were shot dead on the job this year. Photo / 123rf

A man is dead because someone with a gun "lashed out at somebody who didn't deserve it".

That's the stark reality of the fragility of life in the United States, as a spate of gun crime has lead to a new wild, wild, west; citizens taking up arms against the police force and shooting at will.

The shootings of police officers in Texas and Missouri on Sunday were the latest in what law enforcement officials say is an alarming spike in ambush-style attacks in the United States.

A San Antonio detective was fatally shot, and a St. Louis officer was shot twice in the face but survived.

Sixty officers, including the San Antonio detective, were shot dead on the job this year, compared with 41 in all of 2015, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Of the 60 killed, 20 were purposely targeted by their assailant compared with eight last year, the group said. Police officers also were shot and injured during traffic stops in Sanibel, Florida and Gladstone, Missouri, on Sunday night, but authorities have not suggested those were targeted attacks.

All the shootings come less than five months after a black military veteran killed five white officers at a protest in Dallas - the deadliest day for American law enforcement since September 11, 2001.

Most killings of police officers are carried out by white men, and most people shot and killed by police are white, said Craig W. Floyd, president of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.


San Antonio

Detective Benjamin Marconi was shot as he sat in his squad car on Sunday after making a traffic stop. Authorities have said a gunman walked up to Mr Marconi's window and fired.

Mr Marconi was writing a traffic ticket at the time.

"I think the uniform was the target and the first person that happened along was the first person that (the suspect) targeted," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said.

The suspect arrested in the ambush shooting of a San Antonio police detective has said he was angry about a child-custody battle and "lashed out at somebody who didn't deserve it".

Otis Tyrone McKane was being led by police to the Bexar County Jail late Monday when he told reporters that he was angry with the court system for not letting him see his son and took it out on Mr Marconi.

"I've been through several custody battles, and I was upset at the situation I was in, and I lashed out at someone who didn't deserve it," McKane said.

He said he wanted to apologise to the family of the slain officer.

McKane, 31, of San Antonio, remained jailed on a $2 million bond after his arrest on a capital murder charge on Monday afternoon.

St Louis

Police identified a man who was killed by officers hours after he allegedly shot a St. Louis police sergeant as 19-year-old George P. Bush III.

Police say the officer was in his marked police SUV on Sunday night, waiting at a red light, when a vehicle pulled alongside and the suspect opened fire.

The suspect fired two shots that struck the 46-year-old officer in the face. Police Chief Sam Dotson called it an "ambush". The officer was released from a hospital Monday morning.

The suspect initially got away. Police say that as officers approached him early Monday, he shot at them. A St. Louis officer and an FBI Task Force officer returned fire, killing the suspect.

Court records show Bush had one previous case on file. He was charged with resisting arrest and creating a substantial risk of serious injury or death in October 2015. But Mr Dotson says he was wanted for questioning for a number of recent violent crimes, including a homicide.


Gladstone, Missouri

Police say a Kansas City-area officer who was shot Sunday night is out of surgery and expected to make a full recovery after rehabilitation. The Gladstone Police Department posted the announcement on its Twitter page Monday morning.

The unnamed officer was shot after a passenger jumped out of a vehicle and fled during a traffic stop in the suburb just north of Kansas City, Missouri, around 10:35pm.

The officer chased the fleeing passenger and sustained a non-life threatening wound.

The suspect was fatally wounded in the encounter, but it's unclear who pulled the trigger.


Sanibel, Florida

Authorities say they've arrested a man who randomly shot and wounded a Florida police officer parked roadside.

Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra says Officer Jarred Ciccone was filling out paperwork during a routine traffic stop when 49-year-old Jon Webster Hay drove by and shot at the officer, hitting him in the shoulder.

The city manager says a pursuit ensued and Hay was wounded during a standoff and shootout with police. Hay was arrested about 90 minutes after the initial shooting. Authorities haven't disclosed a motive.

He was released from the hospital Monday and booked into jail on an attempted murder charge. Jail records didn't list a lawyer for Hay, who was being held without bail.

It wasn't immediately clear which officer shot Hay.

- news.com.au

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