A Florida cop was shot dead and another was critically wounded while 4 other police officers around the country were struck by gunfire within 2 hours Friday night. Officer Matthew Baxter, a 3 years veteran with Kissimmee police department, was killed during a routine check, while Sgt Sam Howard remains in grave critical condition at the Osceola Regional Medical Center, according to Police Chief Jeff O’Dell. Baxter and Howard responded to reports of a suspicious person near Palmway and Cypress Streets at 9:27 Pm. Within approximately 5 minutes, Kissimmee police received calls that Baxter and Howard were shot, according to O’Dell.
“It looked like they were surprised” Odell added. The police chief added the officers were wearing their uniforms and did not return fire. 3 suspects are in custody and a fourth is being sought. Police from neighboring departments descended on scene and multiple agencies are investigating.
Within 4 hours of shooting, President Trump, who ran a campaign emphasizing law and order, tweeted, “My thoughts and prayers are with the @KissimmeePolice and their loved ones. We are with you!” Florida Gov Rick Scott issued a statement telling he was “hearbroken” adding “Our law enforcement officers are true heroes and we will miss these brave Floridians.” Baxter, who is married to another officer in department, has 3 children. Howard is a 10 years veteran with the Kissimmee police department.
About 160 miles away in Jacksonville, another 2 police officers were shot around 11 Pm Friday. One officer is reportedly in critical condition while the other one is stable. Police responded to an attempted suicide call on 5100 block of Seaboard Avenue. 1 suspect was armed with a rifle, while 3 others inside the house took refuge in a bedroom, the sheriff’s office said during a press conference early Saturday. When officers tried to enter the home, the suspect opened fire and shot at cops through the door. The suspect eventually exited the house “advanced” on police and exchanged gunfire. The suspect later died in hospital. One Jacksonville officer was shot in stomach, while another suffered gunshot wounds to both hands. The 3 victims who were hiding inside the home were unharmed.
Very excited about our most recent promotions. Lt Wilson Munoz, Sgt Sam Howard, and Corp Jeff Patanjo. pic.twitter.com/4TYhEq47vF
— KPD Chief O’Dell (@ChiefJeffOdell) July 19, 2017
In Fayette County, PA, 2 state troopers were also shot at a supermarket around 9 Pm. One suspect is dead and 2 troopers were taken to the hospital in stable condition.