Joplin, MO – A Joplin police officer was murdered and two additional officers remain hospitalized following two shootouts with an armed suspect on Tuesday afternoon.
Jasper County Coroner Randy Nace confirmed late Tuesday night that one of the officers had died, KOAM reported.
The officer’s name has not been released.
The Joplin Police Department (JPD) announced that two officers remained hospitalized, KOAM reported.
One was listed in serious but stable condition, while the other was listed in critical condition.
Their identities have not been released.
The incident occurred at about 1:22 p.m. on March 8 near 4th and Rangeline Road near the Buckle, KOAM reported.
Joplin Police Assistant Chief Brian Lewis said officers were responding to a disturbance when they encountered an armed suspect.
When police attempted to take him into custody, the gunman opened fire, wounding two of the officers, Assistant Chief Lewis said.
The suspect then jumped behind the wheel of a patrol car and fled the scene, according to KOAM.
Police pursued the gunman to the area of Connecticut Avenue and 9th Street, where he crashed the stolen patrol vehicle and took off on foot.
Witness Kim Jenkins, who lives on the corner of Carolina and Connecticut Avenues, said she looked outside after hearing sirens in her neighborhood and spotted a man with a gun hiding behind her neighbor’s fence across the street, The Joplin Globe reported.
When an officer in a patrol vehicle came flying down the road a moment later, Jenkins stepped outside her front door and tried to wave down the officer to show him the suspect’s hiding place, but she was unsure if he saw her or not.
The suspect then ran over towards a nearby apartment building just as the officer spun around and headed back up the street, Jenkins told The Joplin Globe.
The officer pulled to a stop directly in front of a van the gunman was using as cover and immediately came under fire, she explained.
“I don’t think he even had time to get out [of his car] when the guy started shooting,” Jenkins told The Boston Globe.
The gunman appeared to shoot right through the windshield of the cruiser, she said.
Additional officers arrived just after the shooting and returned fire, striking the suspect.
Jenkins said she saw the gunman collapse to the ground, The Joplin Globe reported.
The gunman and all three wounded officers were transported to area hospitals, according to KOAM.
The JPD confirmed Thursday night that the suspect died from his wounds, The Joplin Globe reported.
His identity was not immediately released.
The Missouri Highway Patrol was on the scene assisting with the investigation into the officer-involved shooting, KOAM reported.
Assistant Chief Lewis said there were three active scenes connected to the incident.
Law enforcement officers take risks on behalf of us each day & it can cost them their lives. Today, 3 Joplin, Missouri police officers were shot by a gunman. One officer has died, 2 are hospitalized, 1 of them is critical. Our prayers are with them & their families #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/gezHaZWj97
— MO Public Safety (@MoPublicSafety) March 9, 2022
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