UPDATE: 9:35 p.m. EDT — The dead policemen were identified as Officer Justin Martin and Sgt. Anthony Beminio. Martin had been on the suburban police force since August 2015. Beminio had been with the department since 2005.
Police arrested Scott Michael Greene about 35 miles from where the shootings occurred. He had flagged down an Iowa Department of Natural Resources employee and asked him to call 911. Greene was hospitalized after complaining about a flare-up of an existing condition. Police planned to interview him once he was released from the hospital.
Two police officers were fatally shot in separate “ambush-style” attacks in Iowa’s largest city, Des Moines, early Wednesday. The suspects have not yet been identified and are believed to be on the run, authorities said.
Officers from the Urbandale and Des Moines police departments responding to a report of gunfire just after 1:06 a.m. local time (2:06 a.m. EDT), found an Urbandale officer who was shot at. The authorities have not released the officer’s name but confirmed that he was killed. He was reportedly found in his patrol car at the intersection of 70th Street and Aurora Avenue in Urbandale.
At about 1:26 a.m. local time, another officer was gunned down while responding to the scene of the first shooting. He was also in his patrol car near the intersection of Merle Hay Road and Sheridan Drive in Des Moines.
“We’re just a few hours into this,” spokesman for the Des Moines Police Department Sgt. Paul Parizek reportedly said. “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.”
“We’re developing some suspect information right now. There’s nothing that we can share. As soon as we’ve got something that we can put out, it’s coming out,” he added.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said the number of police officers killed in the U.S. has increased this year.
“These guys were gunned down, sitting in their car doing nothing wrong,” Parizek said of the dangers police officers face. “There is a clear and present danger to police officers right now. There’s definitely danger out there right now.”
He added that Des Moines officers will be conducting patrols in pairs for better protection. Authorities are still informing the families of the officers who were gunned down and will be withholding their names, years of service and other information till later Wednesday.
Authorities have not revealed how many suspects were involved in the shooting nor could they say how many shots were fired.