Police in three US states are searching for a gunman who ambushed two state troopers, killing one of them, in an attack at a law enforcement barracks in Pennsylvania, police said.
Police said they were questioning a man about the shooting, which occurred about 161km north of Philadelphia at the Blooming Grove barracks about 11pm on Friday, but they stressed that the search was still under way for anyone involved in the attack.
“It seems to be an attack on law enforcement and our form of government,” Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said during a news conference.
With the shooter still on the loose on Saturday, law enforcement officers fanned out across Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey in a manhunt, Noonan said.
“I know a lot of people are wondering if the threat is resolved. It is not,” he said. “The individual who perpetrated this heinous crime is still at large.”
Noonan, who added that more than one suspect might have been involved, said police do not have a description or any information on those who committed the attack.
“This attack was an ambush. Our troopers were leaving the barracks and were shot without warning and really had no chance to defend themselves,” Noonan told reporters. “It’s a cowardly attack. It’s an attack upon all of us in society and the people of Pennsylvania.”
On Saturday morning, police interviewed a man described as a person of interest, said Connie Devens, a state police spokeswoman. She said he was not under arrest and no further details were immediately available.
Noonan said that anyone interviewed at this stage of the investigation was not necessarily a suspect.
Noonan identified the slain trooper as Corporal Bryon Dickson.
Trooper Alex Douglass, who was wounded in the ambush, underwent surgery at a hospital and was in critical, but stable condition, Noonan said.
Blooming Grove is a township of about 5,000 people near the New York state border.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett in a statement called on the public to be vigilant
“Every attack on an officer of the law is an attack on our state, our country and civilized society,” he said.
Corbett has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Dickson.
Authorities have offered a US$20,000 reward for any information leading to the capture and conviction of the person responsible.
Additional reporting by AFP
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