1 Kissimmee police officer killed, officer wounded in ‘very grave condition’

One police officer was killed and another seriously wounded while responding to suspected drug activity Friday night in Kissimmee just south of Walt Disney World. 

Kissimmee Police Department Chief Jeff O'Dell identified the two shot as Sgt. Sam Howard and Officer Matthew Baxter. They were not able to return fire, O'Dell said. 

"They were surprised," O'Dell said. 

O'Dell said Baxter, who is married to a fellow police officer and has three children, died. He had been working for the department for three years. Howard, who is also a father, was in "grave critical condition and the prognosis is not looking good," O'Dell said. He is a 10-year veteran. 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he was "heartbroken." President Donald Trump tweeted a message to the Kissimmee Police Department early Saturday morning. 

"My thoughts and prayers are with the Kissimmee Police and their loved ones," Trump said. "We are with you."

Howard and Baxter, who were both wearing their uniforms, were shot about 9:30 p.m. in a neighborhood known for having drug activity, O'Dell said. Both officers were taken to Osceola Regional Hospital where doctors pronounced Baxter dead.

Four suspects were in custody early Saturday morning, O'Dell said. Detectives recovered the weapons involved and took Everett Miller, a U.S. Marine who is accused of killing Baxter, to the Osceola County Jail in Baxter's handcuffs.

Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins Jr. said the last Kissimmee police officer who was killed on duty was in 1983. 

"Heartbreaking loss of two of Kissimmee's finest officers," Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs tweeted. "Please join in prayers for families, friends and law enforcement."

Police officers and deputies from St. Cloud, Orlando, Orange County and Florida Highway Patrol troopers were assisting the Kissimmee Police Department. 

"Our solidarity is with Kissimmee police as they deal with this tragic loss," Orange County Sheriff's Office tweeted Friday night. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was also at the scene. 

Local 10 News partner WFTV contributed to this report. 

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This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.

This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.