Florida officer dead, five others hurt in three unrelated shootings

US

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(Reuters) – Six police officers were shot, one of them fatally, in three separate, apparently unrelated encounters with suspects in Florida and Pennsylvania on Friday, and two suspects in the shootings also died, officials and local media said on Saturday.

In Kissimmee, south of Orlando, Florida, two uniformed officers came under fire after approaching a group of people in a neighborhood where drug dealing is a problem, Police Chief Jeff O’Dell said at a news conference.

Officer Matthew Baxter, 27, was killed, while Sergeant Sam Howard was in “grave, critical condition and the prognosis does not look good,” O’Dell said.

A suspect, identified as Everett Miller, 46, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death, O’Dell said.

“Let me be very clear – last night’s violence against our law enforcement community is reprehensible and has no place in our state,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a statement. “Florida has zero tolerance for violence and we will not accept hatred for one second.”

President Donald Trump sent his condolences in a Twitter message: “My thoughts and prayers are with the @KissimmeePolice and their loved ones,” he said.

In a shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, officers came under fire as they walked toward a house where a man with a high-powered rifle was threatening three people inside, Mike Bruno, director of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, told reporters.

The man opened fire through the door, then exited and exchanged gunfire with the officers, wounding two of them, Bruno said.

The suspect, Derrick Brabham, 25, had no criminal history and was fatally shot in the gunfight, Williams said.

In a third shooting, two Pennsylvania State Police troopers were wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect at a market in Fairchance, 60 miles south of Pittsburgh, local media reported.

The suspect died, according to Pittsburgh television station WPXI, which cited unnamed police sources. The two state troopers were in stable condition, according to local media.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Toby Chopra and Mary Milliken

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