Man charged in shooting death of Florida police officer
A 46-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a police officer in the central Florida city of Kissimmee, Police Chief Jeff O’Dell said Saturday.
Police charged Everett Glenn Miller in the killing of Kissimmee Officer Matthew Baxter. Sgt. Sam Howard was also shot and is in grave condition, police said.
The shooting may have been an ambush, O’Dell said, as the officers responded to a suspicious activity call just before 9:30 pm Friday. Within minutes, gunfire erupted, surprising the officers, who were not able to return fire, O’Dell said.
“Officers immediately responded to the area and found two of their fallen brothers gravely injured on the roadway,” O’Dell said.
Baxter, a three-year veteran of the Kissimmee Police Department, was pronounced dead. Howard remains hospitalized.
Miller is the only one charged of three people the police questioned, the chief said. No other charges are expected, he said.
Condolences from Trump, governor
Following the news of the shooting, President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the @KissimmeePolice and their loved ones. We are with you!” the President said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott described Baxter as a husband, a father and a hero.
“Heartbroken to hear loss of @kissimmeepolice officer Matthew Baxter. Praying for a quick recovery for officer in critical condition,” Scott tweeted.
Kissimmee is about 20 miles south of Orlando.
Other officer shootings
Two officers in Jacksonville were also injured Friday. When officers arrived in response to an attempted suicide call, they encountered a man armed with a high-powered rifle and exchanged gunfire, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Director Mike Bruno said.
One officer was struck in both hands, while the other was hit in his stomach, Bruno said. The suspect, who was also injured, died after being taken to a local hospital, he said.
And in Pennsylvania, two state troopers were shot late Friday, said Melinda Bondarenka, a spokeswoman with the Pennsylvania State Police.
Their condition is unknown as of Saturday morning.