DES MOINES, IOWA - Police have identified a 46-year-old man as a suspect in the "ambush-style" killing of two police officers early Wednesday in the Des Moines metro-area.
Police said the suspect, identified as Scott Michael Greene, a white male, 5'11" and weighing about 180 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. Police said he should be considered armed and dangerous.
He was last known to be driving a blue 2011 Ford F-150 with an Iowa license plate. The truck has a silver-colored topper with a ladder rack, police said.
Police departments from the adjoining cities responded to reports of gunfire at the intersection of 70th Street and Aurora Avenue in Urbandale around 1:06 a.m. CT.
The first officers arriving on the scene found an Urbandale officer shot. The officer, whose name was not released, died, said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek.
The second attack occurred at around 1:26 a.m. when a Des Moines officer responding to the initial attack was fatally shot near the intersection of Merle Hay Road and Sheridan Avenue.
Both officers were gunned down in their patrol cars.
"On the surface right now ... it doesn't look like there was any interaction between these officers and whoever the coward is that shot them while they sat in their cars," a visibly emotional Parizek told reporters..
"In all appearances it looks ... that these officers were ambushed," he added.
Des Moines police, fearing officers were being singled out, paired up its patrol officers so none were on the street alone, Parizek said.
"There's literally a clear and present danger if you're a police officer," he said.
Police did not offer many details on how investigators identified Greene as a suspect, but they said they believe he holds critical information to solving this case. Urbandale Police spokesman Sgt. Chad Underwood said he was identified "through a series of leads and a series of investigative tips."
As of an early morning news conference, police were still notifying the family members of the slain officers and planned to withhold the officers' names, years of service and other details until later in the day, Parizek said.
For Des Moines, this is the first police officer shot and killed in the line of duty since two officers were gunned down in separate incidents in 1977.
Two Des Moines officers, Susan Farrell and Carlos Puente-Morales, also died earlier this year when their vehicle was struck head-on by a wrong-way drunk driver.
The killing of the Urbandale officer appeared to be the city's first for an officer shot in the line of duty, Underwood said at the news conference.
Parizek thanked the community for its support when the department lost Farrell and Puente-Morales, as well as with this tragedy.
"I don't even know where to begin on how bad this year is," he said. But, "this is what we do. We come in day in and day out, we go out there and provide the same level of service regardless of what's going on in our personal and professional lives."
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, in a statement, called the attack on the officers "an attack on the public safety of all Iowans."
"We call on Iowans to support our law enforcement officials in bringing this suspect to justice," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the police officers who were tragically killed in the line of duty as well as the officers who continue to put themselves in harm's way."
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst extended her thoughts and prayers to the families of the officers killed.
"Although the investigation is still unfolding, what appears to be an ambush attack of police in the line of duty is an attack on the community at large and all of the men and women who risk their lives every day to protect us," Ernst said. "This was a senseless act of violence and it cannot be tolerated."