Six police officers shot, two dead in Florida and Pennsylvania

By Daniel Uria and Eric DuVall  |  Updated Aug. 19, 2017 at 3:48 PM
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Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Two police officers were killed and four more were wounded in three separate shootings in Florida and Pennsylvania on Friday.

Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O'Dell said Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Richard "Sam" Howard were killed after they were shot while responding to a call related to a few suspicious people at 9:30 p.m. in the Florida city Friday night, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Baxter was pronounced dead at the scene. Howard succumbed to his injuries Saturday afternoon, the department said.

"It breaks my heart to have to come speak to you tonight about another senseless tragedy," O'Dell said.

Police arrested Everett Glenn Miller, a 45-year-old Marine veteran, in the slayings. They found him at a nearby bar. Miller had recently been involuntarily committed by the Osceola County Sheriff's Office for mental health evaluation, under the state's Baker Act.

The police chief said it was too early to determine if the shooting was an ambush, but added it was "leading toward that." Police said Howard and Baxter didn't return gunfire.

President Donald Trump tweeted condolences following news of the shooting on Friday night.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the Kissimmee Police and their loved ones. We are with you!" Trump wrote.

Two other officers were wounded in a separate shooting in Jacksonville, Fla., on Friday while responding to an attempted suicide call.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Director Mike Bruno said the officers arrived to find a man armed with a high-powered rifle when one officer was struck in both of his hands and the other was hit in his stomach as they exchanged gunfire with the suspect.

The suspect was also wounded in the shooting and died after being taken to a local hospital.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott offered prayers for the wounded Jacksonville officers as well as the two killed in the Kissimmee shooting.

In a third incident Friday, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Melinda Bondarenka said two troopers were shot and a suspect was shot dead after police responded to an incident near a store on Friday night, NBC News reported.

Bondarenka said said both troopers were stable and alert after one was life-lifted to a hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., and the other was taken to a hospital in an ambulance.

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