Everett Glenn Miller was named as the suspect accused of shooting two Kissimmee, Florida police officer, killing Matthew Baxter, a three-year veteran of the force and a married father.
Kissimmee police announced he would be taken to jail in the slain officer’s handcuffs, as a second Kissimmee police officer fought for his life.
August 18 was a very bloody night for American law enforcement. In the span of less than two hours, six American police officers were shot in separate incidents in three different cities in Florida and Pennsylvania. In addition to Kissimmee, officers were shot in Jacksonville, Florida and Fairchance, Pennsylvania.
Two officers were shot in each of the three locations in incidents that started between 9 p.m. and 10:50 p.m. on the east coast.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Baxter Was Married to Another Officer & Recently Gave Slurpee Coupons to a Local Family
One of the officers, in Kissimmee, Florida, died from his wounds. He was identified as Officer Matthew Baxter, a 3-year police veteran who is a father of three and who is married to another officer on the force.
A second officer, Sgt. Sam Howard, was now described by the police chief as being in very grave condition after earlier reports that both officers had died.
Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell said in a news conference, “These are beloved fathers and husbands and sons. So we are doing everything we can to support the families.” Police shared the photo of Officer Baxter at the top of this story in June with the caption, “Officer Baxter connects with a local family. Conversations and Slurpee Coupons. All about positive interactions. #OperationChill.”
2. The Police Chief Says the Officers Were Ambushed
The Kissimmee police chief said in a news conference that he believed the officers walked into an “ambush,” saying they were caught so by surprise that they never got a round off in self defense.
The shooting in Kissimmee, Florida left officer Baxter dead and Sgt. Howard gravely injured and occurred in the area of Cypress and Palm Street around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, August 18, according to ABC Action News.
The chief said the officers were surprised and didn’t get a round off.
A few minutes later, police received the first 911 call that the officers were shot. Responding officers found “two of their fallen brothers gravely injured on the roadway,” the chief said.
President Donald Trump tweeted on the Kissimmee police shooting.
3. The Police Chief Called the Shooting ‘Another Senseless Tragedy
Two suspects were in custody and one was still being sought, it was initially reported. However, the chief later said there was one shooter and no ongoing danger to the public.
“It breaks my heart to have to come to speak to you tonight about another senseless tragedy, one that has resulted in the death of one of our police officers and the grave, critical situation of another,” the police chief said in the news conference. “This evening, Sgt. Sam Howard, a 10-year veteran of the Kissimmee police department and officer Matthew Baxter, a three-year veteran of the Kissimmee police department checked out suspicious persons…in the city.”
4. Officials & Friends Expressed Heartache
“Heartbreaking loss of two of Kissimee’s finest officers,” Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs tweeted. “Please join in prayers for families, friends and law enforcement.”
Wrote one woman of Officer Baxter on Facebook, “RIP Kissimmee Officer Matthew Baxter. My family knew him and we are heart broken. We are praying for the family and for all those grieving the death of our officers tonight, who serve to protect our community. May peace be with you all.”
5. Four Other Police Officers Were Shot in Two Other Cities That Same Night
It was a terrible night for law enforcement. Two police officers were also shot in Jacksonville, Florida. They are in critical and stable condition. They were shot when a suicidal suspect fired a high-powered rifle through a doorway at them.
Two troopers were shot in Fairchance, Pennsylvania. Both were in stable condition.