Four police officers were shot and killed Sunday morning in what authorities called a targeted ambush at a coffee house in Washington State, a sheriff’s official said.
Officials at the scene told The News Tribune in Tacoma that two gunmen burst into the Forza Coffee Co. and shot the four uniformed officers as they were working on their laptop computers, then fled the scene.
Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said investigators believe the officers were targeted, and it was not a robbery.
Troyer told the newspaper “it was just a flat-out ambush.”
CBS Affiliate KIRO reports that the four law enforcement officers - three men and a woman - were with the Lakewood Police Department.
KIRO reports that the main suspect is a black male, 5’8" - 5’9", in his 20s or 30s, with scruffy facial hair, wearing a black coat and blue jeans. He was supposedly carrying a handgun, and may or may not have had someone with him.
Police say the suspect is considered armed and very dangerous.
KIRO reports that eyewitnesses were so traumatized by the event that they have had difficulty answering investigators’ questions.
A phone hot line has been set up at (866) 977-2362, and a $10,000 reward has already been announced, KIRO reported.
The coffee shop is near McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, south of Seattle.
“We hopefully will have answers, but there is nothing more we can tell you,” Troyer told KING-TV. “That’s as cold-hearted as it is.”
Roads were blocked around the attack. A witness driving past told the newspaper he saw an officer on the ground just after the shootings.
Last month, Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton was shot and killed Halloween night as he was sitting in a cruiser with trainee Britt Sweeney. Sweeney was grazed in the neck.
Christopher Monfort, 41, of suburban Tukwila, was charged in the shooting. Days after the shooting, Seattle detectives attempted to question Monfort at his residence. Police say that Monfort then ran from the detectives and tried to use a gun. The detective shot him.
Authorities also linked Monfort to the October firebombing of four police vehicles, with prosecutors saying Monfort waged a “one-man war” against law enforcement.
Monfort remained hospitalized.