Police say 1 officer fatally shot, 1 hurt in Tenn.
Friday, December 14, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Memphis police officer was fatally shot and another wounded during a shootout at a home Friday, authorities said.
Officers with the organized crime unit entered a home in east Memphis to serve a drug-related search warrant at 8 a.m. Friday, Police Director Toney Armstrong said.
A suspect with a 9 mm pistol and a high-capacity magazine exited a bedroom and fired numerous shots, striking officers Martoiya Lang and William Vrooman, he said.
Officers returned fire, striking the suspect in the abdomen.
Lang, 32 and a mother of four girls, was shot in her upper torso, Armstrong said. She died of her injuries at the Regional Medical Center.
Vrooman, who was shot in the leg, was treated and released from the same hospital.
The 21-year-old suspect was hospitalized in stable condition, police said. He has no criminal record. Police did not release his name, citing the ongoing investigation.
A 26-year-old man who also was in the home was in custody, but no charges had been filed as of Friday afternoon.
Lang and Vrooman, 32, were the 10th and 11th police officers to be shot while on duty since Armstrong took over the department in April 2011. Lang was the second officer to die.
“This is something that has torn this department apart,” Armstrong said.
The shooting was a reminder that police officers put their lives in danger every day they are on duty, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said.
“Through it all, we appreciate deeply, beyond measure — words can’t express the sacrifice they make for our city,” Wharton told reporters outside the hospital.
Lang had been with the department since June 2003, Armstrong said. A fund to benefit her daughters was established at SunTrust Bank in Memphis. Lang’s daughters are ages 2, 12, 13 and 14.
“She was a friend, a family member,” Armstrong said.
More than a dozen officers gathered outside the hospital. One woman was seen crying loudly and being led into the hospital. Armstrong was visibly shaken as he and Wharton spoke with reporters.
Armstrong would not say how many rounds the high-capacity magazine held or how many shots were fired. He said it was common to see shooting suspects use a 9 mm.
“More often than not, it seems to be the gun of choice,” he said.
Wharton said the shooting reflects a national problem — too many criminals have too many guns.
“Nobody has a Second Amendment right to load up and kill a police officer,” he said.
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