Law enforcement is on high alert after four police officers were shot in several states across the nation on Sunday. Adding to the shock felt around the country, the suspects behind at least three of the "Bloody Sunday" shootings reportedly appear to have been specifically targeting police officers, killing one of them and leaving the others wounded. The startling news may have people wondering: Who were the four cops shot in various U.S. cities and why were they targeted?
The shootings come less than five months after a gunman fatally shot five police officers in Dallas, Texas — the deadliest incident for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — where the assailant, Micah Xavier Johnson, had stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers. Just weeks later, three officers were shot dead in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and earlier this month, two more officers were killed in Urbandale, Iowa in similar attacks against law enforcement.
The four most recent ambush shootings of police officers took place in four cities in three states: Sanibel, Florida; Gladstone and St. Louis, Missouri; and San Antonio, Texas.
"I think the uniform was the target and the first person who happened along was the person he targeted," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said on Monday of the Texas shooting that left an officer dead, according to Fox News.
While not much was immediately released about the officers who were involved the shootings on Nov. 20, here is what we know so far:
San Antonio, Texas
Detective Benjamin Marconi was shot and killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop near the police department’s headquarters. According to CNN, the 50-year-old veteran officer — who had worked as a police officer for nearly half of his life — reportedly returned back to his squad car to write a ticket when another man pulled up behind Marconi, walked over the police car and shot him twice, once in the head. The suspect then drove away. A manhunt is still underway for the gunman, who has been described as a black male, about 5'7" tall, wearing a hoodie and baggy pants with possible facial hair.
Marconi was reportedly the father of two children, who are in their 20s. According to Heavy, he also became a grandfather earlier this year and shared this photo on Twitter of himself with his young grandson on Father’s Day:
According to ABC News affiliate KSAT, Marconi's family released the following statement on Monday:
At this time, the Marconi family would like to give thanks from the bottom of our hearts for the outpouring of support, prayers and love we have received. At this time, we would appreciate privacy to mourn the loss of a wonderful father, brother, grandfather, friend and last but not least, a peace officer. Thank you to the San Antonio community and nation as a whole for your support.
St. Louis, Missouri
While authorities have not released the wounded officer's name, CNN reports that he is a 46-year-old veteran sergeant and a married father of three. The officer in St. Louis was shot around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday when a gunman pulled up to a marked police SUV, shooting him twice in the head.
According to a late Sunday tweet from the St. Louis Police, the suspect in the shooting was killed after a shootout with other police officers. In another tweet posted on Monday afternoon, St. Louis police issued an update that the officer has been released from the hospital and is now at home recovering.
Sanibel police tweeted that Jarred Ciccone was the officer wounded in the Florida shooting. Ciccone was shot just before 8 p.m. local time on Sunday during traffic stop when a man drove by and opened fire.
According to CNN, the suspect was taken into custody after a shootout with police, which reportedly included 20 police cars and a helicopter. The officer survived and has also been released from the hospital.
According to The News-Press, the 43-year-old officer, who is originally from Toms River, N.J., is listed as a senior officer and began working on the force in January 2007. Throughout his police career, The News-Press reports that Ciccone was awarded officer of the year by the Lee County Bar Association, which he earned after using a defibrillator to save a woman's life.
The Gladstone Police Department tweeted that an officer who was shot late Sunday underwent surgery and is expected to make a full recovery following rehab, though the department has not yet released the officer's name.
According to CNN, the shooting happened shortly after a routine traffic stop and led to the teenage suspect fleeing the scene on foot, with officers chasing after him on foot as well. Fox News reported that the suspect was identified as 18-year-old Jacob Stevens, who was killed after he was taken into custody during a struggle with police officers.
The unsettling events have police all over the country on high alert. And although the shootings were scattered across the nation, the close timing and reported motives warrants a good deal of caution until law enforcement can come to a confirmed conclusion of what prompted the startling events.