Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek describes the death of two police officers, from Des Moines and Urbandale, as an ambush during a news conference on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.
Two metro-area police officers were shot and killed in apparent “ambush style” attacks early Wednesday.
Police from Urbandale and Des Moines departments responded to a report of gunfire at the intersection of 70th Street and Aurora Avenue at about 1:06 a.m.
The first officers arriving on the scene found an Urbandale officer shot. The officer, whose name has not been released, died, said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek in a news release.
At about 1:26 a.m., a Des Moines police officer was shot and killed near the intersection of Merle Hay Road and Sheridan Avenue while responding to the scene where the Urbandale officer was shot.
Both officers were gunned down in their patrol cars.
The police departments are wary of officers’ safety, as the attack appeared targeted at officers. Des Moines Police has paired up its patrol officers so no officer is on patrol alone, Parizek said.
“There’s literally a clear and present danger if you’re a police officer,” he said.
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
As of a 5 a.m. press conference, police were still notifying the family members of the slain officers and planned to withhold the officers’ names, years of service and other details until later in the day, Parizek said.
Streets at both shooting scenes are closed as officers investigate, and classes have been canceled at Urbandale schools today. In Urbandale, the intersection of 70th Street and Aurora Avenue is closed, and in Des Moines, Merle Hay Road is closed between Urbandale Avenue and Hickman Road.
Police had no information on suspects as of 5 a.m. They could not say how many shots were fired or how many people may have been shooting.
For Des Moines, this is the first police officer shot and killed in the line of duty since two officers were gunned down in separate incidents in 1977.
This is likely the first Urbandale officer shot in the line of duty, Urbandale Police spokesman Sgt. Chad Underwood said at the press conference.
Parizek thanked the community for its support when the department lost Farrell and Puente-Morales, as well as with this tragedy.
“I don’t even know where to begin on how bad this year is,” he said. But, “This is what we do. We come in day in and day out, we go out there and provide the same level of service regardless of what’s going on in our personal and professional lives.”
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad released this statement Wednesday morning:
“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.”
Sen. Joni Ernst said, “My thoughts and prayers are with the two Iowa police officers who were killed in the line of duty, as well as their families and the entire Iowa law enforcement community as they face this devastating loss.
“Although the investigation is still unfolding, what appears to be an ambush attack of police in the line of duty is an attack on the community at large and all of the men and women who risk their lives every day to protect us. This was a senseless act of violence and it cannot be tolerated.”