Two police officers were shot and killed early Wednesday night in Des Moines, Iowa, and the details are chilling. Who were the two police officers killed in Des Moines? The names of the officers haven't yet been released, but according to NBC News, the shootings were separate incidents, and in both cases, the officers were thought to have been gunned down "ambush-style" while sitting in their cars. Des Moines Police Department public information officer Sgt. Paul Parizek told reporters that the still-at-large suspect presented a "clear and present danger to police officers." According to Parizek, neither officer is thought to have interacted with the suspect prior to the shooting.
Update: Des Moines police have reportedly arrested 46-year-old Urbandale resident Scott Michael Greene in relation to the shootings according to KCCI Des Moines.
According to NPR, the first shooting occurred shortly after 1 a.m in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale, and approximately 20 minutes later, a second officer was shot about three miles away. According to The Guardian, officers responding to reports of shots fired in Urbandale found the first officer dead in his cruiser, while the second died in hospital. Parizek emphasized the seemingly senseless nature of the shooting, telling reporters, “These guys were sitting in their car doing nothing wrong" when they were killed.
The shooting marks the first time an Urbandale police officer has been shot and killed in the line of duty, according to The Guardian, and the first time since 1977 that two officers have been "gunned down in separate incidents."
Both the Des Moines and Urbandale police departments are taking steps to keep officers safe until the suspect(s) are apprehended. According to The Des Moines Register, Parizek said officers were being paired up so that no officer is left alone, but also emphasized that officers were not going to be intimidated. According to The Guardian, Parizek told reporters,
You’re not going to see any difference in the service that we’re providing and the way we do it. You’ve just got to look at the people that work here, you know that you’ve got the best police department in the nation ... We’re going to be here tomorrow, we’re going to be here tonight.
We’re very well aware of the society we’re living in right now and there’s not so positive views of law enforcement [but] if we don’t provide the service in the manner that we do, the personal type service that we do, we’re nothing more than an occupying army.
In a statement, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad expressed his condolences for the officers, and encouraged Iowans to be supportive of the investigation:
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.
Local roads have been closed while the investigation takes place, and schools in Urbandale have also been closed, according to The Des Moines Register. Details about the identity of the two officers are expected to come later today, after their families have been notified. Further details about the possible number of shooters, a motive, or number shots fired have also not been released.