- “This is everyone’s worst nightmare. You never want to see anything like this happen,” said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
- The gunman was later killed after he shot at other officers who returned fire. No officers were injured during that encounter.
An extensive police dragnet had failed Monday to catch a suspect in the ambush execution of a San Antonio detective, the first of four police officers in three states targeted in a Sunday shooting spree.
Three of the incidents appeared to be targeted attacks and involved law enforcement officers sitting unsuspectingly in their patrol cars, either waiting in traffic or after pulling vehicles over for traffic stops.
Detective Benjamin Marconi, 50, was sitting in his patrol car across from police headquarters writing a traffic ticket at 11:45 a.m. local time when a vehicle unrelated to the stop pulled up behind Marconi’s squad car. A man got out and took aim at the 20-year veteran, striking Marconi twice in the head. The final shot was fired as the assailant reached inside Marconi’s passenger window to shoot the father of two at close range.
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“This is everyone’s worst nightmare. You never want to see anything like this happen,” said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, who then ticked off several other cities that recently had police officers targeted and killed. “Unfortunately, like Dallas, like Baton Rouge, it’s happened here now.”
Officials released a still image of a vehicle they believe was involved in the attack and also an image of a person sought “in connection with the shooting.” U.S. Marshals took a “person of interest” into custody late on Sunday night, but no further information was given on that person and police had not made an arrest as of Monday morning.
Authorities had yet to identify a motive in the apparent ambush, which was only the first in a bloody day for police.
A St. Louis police sergeant was shot twice in the face at 7:30 p.m. Sunday night, but was expected to survive and was hospitalized in critical condition. The 46-year-old officer, who was not named, is a married father of three and, like Marconi, a 20-year veteran of the force.
“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,” Police Chief Sam Dotson said.
The gunman was later killed after he shot at other officers who returned fire. No officers were injured during that encounter.
An officer in Sanibel, Fla., was shot and injured during a similar incident when a person fired at the officer as he sat in his patrol car after finishing a traffic stop just before 8 p.m., The News-Press reported. Other officers fired back at the suspect, who was eventually taken into custody.
An officer in Gladstone, Mo., sustained non-life-threatening injuries during a struggle with a man in his late teens who had fled from a traffic stop, FOXC4KC reported. During the tussle, authorities said the man revealed a handgun, shots were fired and the teen was killed.
The shootings came less than five months after a gunman killed five officers in Dallas who were working a protest about the fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana. It was the deadliest day for American law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001.
Ten days after the Dallas 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, La. 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.
In 2016, 56 state, county and local officers have been shot while on duty.