Two Iowa police officers were fatally shot in their patrol cars in the Des Moines area in separate “ambush-style attacks” early Wednesday, according to reports.
One of the cops was found dead about 1 a.m. local time in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale. The second was found dead about a half-hour later and a couple of miles away in Des Moines, officials said.
“There is a clear and present danger to police officers right now,” Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert said. “There is definitely danger out there right now.”
The shootings were described as “ambush-style attacks,” a statement from the Des Moines police said.
“It doesn’t look like there was any interaction between these officers and whoever the coward is who shot them while they sat in their cars,” Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said, KCCI TV in Des Moines reported.
Parizek said police had little information on a possible suspect, but had received a description of a pickup truck, the Washington Post reported.
Police were still notifying the family members of the slain cops early Wednesday and planned to withhold the officers’ names and other details until later in the day, Parizek said in a statement.
The scene of the first shooting at 70th and Aurora where an officer was found shot early Wed morning. Some officers in combat gear here. pic.twitter.com/SJEUY4B3gh
— Brian Powers (@bpowersphoto) November 2, 2016
Officials said officers on patrol in Des Moines and Urbandale would be paired up as a precaution.
“We’re always vigilant about our safety, but we’ve still got to go out there,” Parizek said.
In Des Moines, this is the first police officer shot and killed in the line of duty since two cops were gunned down in separate incidents in 1977, the Des Moines Register reported.
Two Des Moines officers, Susan Farrell and Carlos Puente-Morales, also died this year when their vehicle was struck by a wrong-way drunken driver, the paper reported.
Urbandale Police Sgt. Chad Underwood told KCCI this is the first deadly Urbandale police shooting he was aware of in the 50-member department.