2 Iowa officers shot and killed in ambush-style attacks; suspect identified
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two police officers were shot to death early Wednesday in ambush-style attacks while they were sitting in their patrol cars, authorities said.
UPDATE -- The suspected gunman has been captured. Updates here.
Officers responded to a report of shots fired at 1:06 a.m. and found an Urbandale Police Department officer who had been shot. Authorities from several agencies saturated the area after that shooting, and about 20 minutes later discovered that a Des Moines officer had been shot in a patrol car at an intersection, Des Moines Sgt. Paul Parizek said. The shootings happened about 2 miles apart.
Urbandale schools were closed due to the ongoing search.
Police said in a statement Wednesday that they are hunting for 46-year-old Scott Michael Greene in connection with the shooting. Police said he is likely armed and should be considered dangerous.
“We don’t want anybody to approach him if they see him. Just call 911," Parizek said.
He is described as white, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 180 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. He was last known to be driving a blue 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck with Iowa license plates 780 YFR.
The truck is equipped with a ladder rack.
"There's somebody out there shooting police officers. We hope to find him before somebody else gets hurt," said Parizek, who became emotional at times during a news conference.
Authorities are developing suspect information but there was nothing that they were ready to share with the public, Parizek said. Officers are now doing patrols in pairs to better protect themselves, he said.
“Imagine if you lost a friend or a family member. That’s the only way to describe it. … These were our friends, our coworkers," Parizek said. “Des Moines is not a big city. We all know each other."
Parizek said he didn't have any more information about the shootings.
Urbandale is a city in the Des Moines metro area with about 50 officers.
Ben Hammes, a spokesman for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement:
“The governor and Lt. governor have been alerted to the attacks on law enforcement this morning. Shortly after the shootings, our office was briefed by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) on the shootings. DPS is working hand in hand with local law enforcement in the investigation. We will continue monitoring and working with law enforcement in the interest of public safety.
"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.”
A video posted to YouTube from an account belonging to a "Scott Greene" was shot by a man in Iowa arguing with Urbandale police at a high school sporting event.
In the video, a man believed to be Greene claims he was assaulted by the officers and by people in the stands of a high school sporting event. The officers countered that they only escorted him out of the stadium after receiving a number of complaints. The officers then repeatedly ask the man to leave the property. The video was posted on Oct. 16, 2016.
In the video, police identify the man arguing with officers as Mr. Scott Greene. Greene said he was assaulted from behind in the stands by a group of African Americans.
A police officer in the video tells Greene they received several complaints that he was causing a disturbance in the stands. The man was waving a Confederate Flag during the game. The officer informed the man that the flag was in violation of school code.
Officers ask him if he came to the game to watch a student play or to just fly the flag.
"I was using my Constitutional rights," the man said. " I did not want to cause any disruptions."
The officer then said, "but you have to understand..."
The man cut her off, "I was peacefully protesting."
"But you have to understand," the officer said again, "in the current social climate that we're in, when you fly a confederate flag standing in front of several African American people that's going to cause a disturbance."
This story will be updated.
Sinclair Broadcast Group national online news producer Nick DiMarco contributed to this report.