2 Police Officers Shot In Kissimmee

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. —
One Kissimmee police officer has been killed and another is in grave condition after what authorities said was an ambush style shooting Friday night.

Kissimmee police chief Jeff O'Dell said Sergeant Sam Howard and Officer Matthew Baxter were shot when they responded to a call in the area of Palmway and Cypress streets shortly before 9:30 p.m.


Baxter, a 3-year-veteran of the department has been pronounced dead and Howard, a 10-year-veteran, was gravely injured, O'Dell said.

Police were called to the area to investigate suspicious activity. As the officers arrived and began speaking with three people, a fourth person emerged and fired at police, authorities said. The officers did not have an opportunity to return fire, O'Dell said.

Police said the shooting happened in an area known for drug activity.

O'Dell said three people are in custody, but a fourth remains at large.

Kissimmee police said it has been 25 years since an officer died in the line of duty. Sergeant Douglas Odell Parsons died on April 27, 1993 of a heart attack and Patrolman Thomas Alan Bartholomew was shot and killed July 18, 1983.

President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Central Florida’s law enforcement community are mourning with the Kissimmee Police Department Saturday.

Trump tweeted early Saturday, “My thoughts and prayers are with Kissimmee police and their loved ones. We are with you!”

Scott said on his official Twitter account that he is “heartbroken to hear of the loss of Kissimmee police officer Matthew Baxter. Praying for a quick recovery for the officer in critical condition.”

Central Florida’s law enforcement agencies also offered condolences to the Kissimmee Police Department.

On its Twitter account, the Orlando Police Department said, “Please keep @kissimmeepolice in your prayers tonight.”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office also offered its own message of comfort, saying, “Our solidarity is with @kissimmeepolice as they deal with this tragic loss.”

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