A manhunt was underway Monday in Texas for a suspect wanted in the fatal shooting of a veteran police detective in what authorities say was one of several attacks targeting law enforcement in multiple states.
The San Antonio detective as well as officers in Missouri and Florida were conducting routine tasks Sunday when they became the targets of violence.
The detective was writing a traffic ticket when he was shot to death in his squad car late Sunday morning outside police headquarters. In Missouri, a St. Louis police sergeant was shot twice in the face Sunday evening while he sat in traffic in a marked police vehicle. The sergeant is expected to survive.
Police officers were also shot and injured during traffic stops in Sanibel, Florida, and Gladstone, Missouri, on Sunday night, but authorities have not suggested these were targeted attacks.
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 Sept. 11, 2001.
Race was a factor in the Dallas attack, but police have not said if race played a part in any of the attacks on Sunday. In San Antonio, police say the suspect is black and the officer was white. In St. Louis, the suspect was black. Police have not released the race of the officer shot.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus identified the officer killed Sunday as Benjamin Marconi, 50, a 20-year veteran of the force.
Police said the search for a male suspect was still underway Monday and that no arrest has been made. McManus said he doesn’t believe the suspect has any relationship to the original motorist who was pulled over, and that no motive has been identified.
At a news conference Monday morning, McManus said Marconi was killed because he was a police officer.
“I think the uniform was the target and the first person that happened along was the first person that (the suspect) targeted,” he told reporters.
Surveillance video shows the suspect at San Antonio police headquarters about four hours before Marconi was shot. The suspect asked a desk clerk a question but left before receiving an answer, said McManus, who declined to say what the man asked.
“I don’t know why he was in headquarters. We have some ideas,” he said.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson declined to name the 46-year-old officer on his force who was shot in the face Sunday evening, but said he is a married father of three who has been with the department for about 20 years.
“This officer was driving down the road and was ambushed by an individual who pointed a gun at him from inside of his car and shot out the police officer’s window,” Dotson said during a news conference. That officer was released from the hospital Monday.
The suspect, identified as 19-year-old George P. Bush III, was wanted for questioning in recent violent crimes that included several robberies, a carjacking and perhaps a killing, Dotson said. He didn’t elaborate. Police said Bush’s weapon was recovered from the scene.
“We believe he knew he was good for those crimes and that we were looking for him,” Dotson said. “That’s why he aggressively attacked a police officer.”
Police said Bush was later killed in a shootout with officers.
At least two other police officers were also shot in other cities Sunday night, but it wasn’t clear whether the incidents were targeted attacks.
An officer with the Gladstone, Missouri, police department near Kansas City was shot, while the suspect was shot and killed. Gladstone police said Monday that the officer, whose name has not been released, is out of surgery and expected to recover.
A Sanibel, Florida, officer was shot in the shoulder during a traffic stop, and was treated for his injuries and released.
On July 7, Micah Johnson shot and killed five law enforcement officers who had been working to keep the peace at a protest in downtown Dallas over the fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana. Ten days after that attack, a man wearing a ski mask and armed with two rifles and a pistol killed three officers near a gas station and convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And earlier this month, two Des Moines, Iowa-area police officers were fatally shot in separate ambush-style attacks while sitting in their patrol cars.
“It’s always difficult, especially in this this day and age, where police are being targeted across the country,” McManus said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the slaying of Marconi a “horrific act of violence.” Abbott said in a statement that “attacks against law enforcement officers will not be tolerated in Texas and must be met with swift justice.”
Salter reported from St. Louis and Warren from Dallas. Jamie Stengle in Dallas also contributed.
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