One of two Kissimmee Police officers shot has died and another is in grave condition, while two other officers were shot in Jacksonville Friday night in a tragic night for law enforcement in Florida.
- 2 police officers shot in Kissimmee
- 1 officer dead, another in grave condition
- Officers were responding to call of shots fired
- 2 officers in Jacksonville also shot
A massive manhunt is underway for at least one suspect. Three suspects are in custody, Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O'Dell said during a news conference early Saturday.
Officer Matthew Baxter, a three-year veteran of the police force and a father of three, was killed. The other officer, Sgt. Sam Howard, is in grave condition. "His prognosis does not look good," O'Dell said. Howard has been with the department for 10 years.
"This is a tough time for each one of us. I am grateful for our Central Florida partners," he said.
Chief O'Dell: This is a tough time in law enforcement. I would ask that you pray for the men and women of law enforcement. pic.twitter.com/MEp056LfSm— Kissimmee Police (@kissimmeepolice) August 19, 2017
The two officers were responding to a call of shots fired in the area of Palmway and Cypress streets when they were shot. At about 9:32 p.m., dispatchers received an emergency call about officers being shot. When authorities arrived, they found "fallen brothers" on the roadway, O'Dell said.
The officers were taken to Osceola Regional Medical Center, where Baxter died.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina tweeted his thoughts and prayers minutes before we confirmed what happened:
Sending our thoughts and prayers to @kissimmeepolice— Chief John Mina (@ChiefJohnMina) August 19, 2017
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs asked Floridians to keep the officers' families in their thoughts.
Heartbreaking loss of two of Kissimmee's finest officers. Please join in prayers for families, friends, and law enforcement.— Mayor Teresa Jacobs (@Mayor_Jacobs) August 19, 2017
Brunilda Concepion of Kissimmee came to the area to show her support for law enforcement and the families of the fallen officers.
"It hurts. It hurts a lot. Two of our officers are down. We just have to stay strong. We have to show love and support and peace," she said. "This is why I'm here. This is why we have to stand up and fight this. This is crazy.
"It's breaking my heart. ... We need to stand up and fight together," Concepcion said.
At Osceola Regional, law enforcment officers showed their love and support by driving their patrol vehicles in a processional in front of the hospital.
The Jacksonville officers were shot in the Westside, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.
"If you are inclined to do so, say a prayer for our two #JSO officers that have been shot," the Sheriff's Office said on Twitter.
One officer is in critical condition, and the other is stable. One officer was shot in both hands, and the other was shot in the stomach, the Sheriff's Office said. Both were struck by high-powered rifle rounds, the agency said.
The suspect shot by the officers died at a hospital.