Two Iowa police officers were ambushed and killed while sitting in their patrol cars early Wednesday morning in the Des Moines metro area, authorities say.
Police are searching for a suspect, 46-year-old Scott Michael Greene.
The officers, who have not been named, were killed in Urbandale and then a few miles away in the capital city of Des Moines, the Des Moines Register reports. The shootings occurred about 20 minutes apart.
“The shootings appear to have been ambush-style attacks,” Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek said in a statement.
There are no suspects in custody and officials said they do not have any information about a potential gunman or gunmen to release at this time.
“There’s somebody out there shooting police officers,” Parizek said at a press conference. “There’s definitely danger out there right now.”
Parizek said, “I can’t even begin to describe how bad this is.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The First Officer Was Found Dead After Police Responded to a Report of Shots Fired in an Urbandale Intersection
The first officer was found dead about 1:06 a.m. when police responded to a report of shots fired in the area of 70th Street and Aurora Avenue in Urbandale, Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek said in a press release.
Responding officers “found an Urbandale Police Department police officer who had been shot.”
The Urbandale officer was “still seated in his vehicle, Parizek said at a press conference, “and he’d been shot and killed.”
Parizek said Des Moines officers were called to assist at that scene.
2. A Des Moines Officer Was Fatally Shot in Another Intersection About 2 Miles Away
The second officer was found fatally shot about 1:25 a.m. in the intersection of Merle Hay Road and Sheridan Drive, Des Moines Police said in a statement.
The slain officer was found by another Des Moines officer who was in the area assisting in the search for a suspect in the Urbandale shooting, Des Moines Sergeant Paul Parizek said at a press conference.
The officer was taken to a local hospital, where he later died, Parizek said.
The scene of the second shooting is about two miles away from where the Urbandale officer was killed.
“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,” Parizek said.
3. The Suspect Is Possibly Driving a Blue Ford Pickup Truck
Scott Greene, 46, of Urbandale, is believed to be driving a blue 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck with a silver topper and a ladder rack, police say.
He is about 5 foot 11 inches tall, weighs 180 pounds and has brown hair and green eyes, according to police.
Greene has been arrested numerous times, online court records show. Details of the cases, including whether he was convicted, were not immediately available.
He was arrested in 2001 and charged with domestic assault, assault causing bodily injury and fourth-degree criminal mischief. He was also charged in 2010 with driving under the influence and in 2014 with first-degree harassment.
Greene is a military veteran, according to posts on social media by family members.
4. The Officers Are Not Being Named Pending the Notification of Their Families
No information about the two officers killed in the attacks has been released so far. Authorities say they are waiting to do so until all family is notified.
The two officers are the third and fourth to be killed in Des Moines in the line of duty this year, according to the Des Moines Register.
Officers Susan Farrell and Carlos Puente-Morales were killed when their cruiser was struck head on- in a wrong-way drunken driver, the newspaper reports.
“I don’t even know where to begin on how bad this year is,” Sergeant Paul Parizek said at a press conference. 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.”
The Des Moines officer is the first to be shot in the line of duty since two officers were killed in 1977, Parizek said. The Urbandale officer is the first to be fatally shot in the line of duty in the history of the department.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s office said in a press release that he had been briefed on the shooting.
“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,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “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.”
5. Major Roads Have Been Closed Indefinitely as Police Hunt for a Suspect
Roads around the shooting scenes will be closed indefinitely while the investigations are conducted, police said at a 5 a.m. press conference.
The intersection of 70th Street and Aurora Avenue is closed in Urbandale, while Merle Hay Road is closed between Urbandale Avenue and Hickman Road in Des Moines.
Police are warning the public to be vigilant, but said the main threat appears to be to officers, who were targeted in the two ambush attacks.
“There is a clear and present danger to police officers right now,” Des Moines Sergeant Paul Parizek said.