Alexandria officer killed in gun battle; six injured


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AZTOY
February 20, 2003, 07:12 PM
Police officer ambushed
Gunman still on loose after riddling police car with bullets
Mandy M. Goodnight / The Town Talk
Posted on February 20, 2003

Alexandria police are out in force looking for a gunman who opened fire with an assault rifle on a police officer in a Wednesday morning ambush on Overton Street.

The officer was ambushed while responding to an apparently false report of a robbery. When the officer got back in his patrol car after finding no robbery victim, the gunman sprayed the car with bullets. About 20 shots were fired, but the officer was not hit.

The officer, whose name was not released, injured his leg as he scrambled to the passenger side of the car to avoid the gunfire and drove away from the shootout, Police Chief Tommy Cicardo said Wednesday.

The shooter remains on the loose, and detectives have been unable to locate the rifle used in the attack.

Cicardo said he believes the incident was a "deliberate attack," and the attacker is a "coward."

However, he did not know if the shooting was meant as an attack on the individual officer, on the city police department or law enforcement officers in general.

He said the narcotics division has been actively working cases and making arrests in the area of the shooting, but at this point investigators did not know the gunman's motive.

Cicardo vowed his department will not rest until the shooter is caught, "and we will catch him."

Residents in the Overton Street area described the early morning gunfire as loud. One said, "It sounded like a machine gun going off."

Those who did hear the gunfire did not want to give their names, but one man said it sounded like at least a dozen shots were fired.

A woman said shots were fired in the car where the officer was sitting.

Bogus robbery report

Shortly after midnight, a 911 call alerted police to an alleged robbery in the 2800 block of Lee Street.

The officer, who has been a member of the force since 1999, was sent to check out the situation and take a report.

He arrived but could not locate a victim in the area of Lee and Overton streets, Cicardo said.

The officer got back into his vehicle and was pulling out when the gunman opened fire.

Police did not say where the shooter was standing, but it appears he was likely in the yard at 2097 Overton St.

The officer was able to dive over his computer console into the passenger side, stretch his legs around to the accelerator and drive off.

Cicardo said the officer notified headquarters that he "was under fire" and was able to drive to the Silver Dollar Pawn Shop on Lee Street.

The officer was "pretty unresponsive" when other officers arrived at his location, Cicardo said.

The officer was sedated and sent home. Cicardo did not say when the officer would be back on the job.

Cicardo said "multiple shots" hit the patrol car on the driver's side and in the back. He would not say how many shots hit the vehicle.

The Overton Street yard had about 20 spray-painted marks where possible shell casings were found. There were similar marks in the street.

Late Wednesday morning, crime-scene investigators and detectives were back at the shooting scene but were not alone.

Members of the Special Response Team armed with rifles and wearing bulletproof vests were there, too.

Cicardo said he deployed the SRT team to provide protection for the officers working the case and for the community.

The black-clad officers set up a perimeter around the property, guarding every angle from which an attacker might approach.

Detectives went door-to-door to interview residents and were escorted by two SRT team members on foot and one in a patrol car.

After searching the crime scene, investigators went next door and across the street to look for evidence.

Officers did find a bullet hole in a travel trailer parked down the street.

The caravan soon moved to Harris Street where evidence was gathered from an abandoned house and shed.

Officers did not say what they picked up, but they did search the back yard, inside and underneath the house.

Most of the items taken appeared to have come from a shed next to the home.

Some officers speculated the shooter could have run through the empty lot on Overton Street and went into the abandoned yard at 2843 Harris St.

Officers worked into the evening Wednesday on the investigation. A search at 1610 Branch St. was conducted with the help of the SRT team about 5:15 p.m.

Officers would not comment on what they were doing there, but it appeared they came away with nothing in the search of that residence.

The effort was all part of trying to track the shooter's steps and looking for potential witnesses.

A large crowd of spectators who knew only rumors of what had happened followed each of the investigators' moves.

As the officers worked Wednesday morning, children in the playground at Diddle Diddle Dumplings Head Start laughed and played as if nothing had happened a few hours earlier.

Brenda Strong lives next door to 2097 Overton St. She was not at home at the time of the shooting, but officers still were on the street when she got back from a gospel singing rehearsal about 3 a.m.

She said she was nervous about what could have happened if she had been on her porch or in her house at the time.

She had moved to her house in 1994 and knew of some problems in the neighborhood, but it was "suddenly moving close to home."

Strong said she is thankful the officer was not shot.

Officers asked her to look through her yard for any possible bullet holes or evidence dropped by the attacker.

"I did not think anything like this would happen here," she said.

Officers on edge

The attack has the entire Rapides Parish law enforcement community on edge.

Rapides Parish Sheriff's Maj. Herman Walters said police notified his division of the shooting and warned them the attacker was at large.

"As an officer, you always look over your shoulder, but this bring the dangers to reality," he said.

Sheriff's Chief Deputy Bill Robinson said warnings for officers to be aware also extend to residents.

However, he said if the gunman is out to get law enforcement officers, then any officer in a marked car is "a marked target."

Cicardo said his officers are "a little bit on edge" and have been impacted by the shooting.

He said the department would be making some adjustments, such as sending two officers in response to each call, until the gunman is caught.

Alexandria Police Officers Association Local 833 President Beaux Russell said he looked over his shoulder as he came to work Wednesday.

Russell and other union members met Tuesday night to discuss asking the city for a pay raise.

City officials told the union last week that the officers would not be getting a raise. Russell said members would continue to talk with the city.

However, he asked: What person would do "our job, including getting shot at, for $9 an hour?"

Councilmen react

City Councilman Chuck Fowler said he was "speechless" and "flabbergasted" by the incident.

"To be so cowardly as to attack an officer," he said.

He said the incident "makes you appreciate the job they (officers) do."

Fowler said officers go on thousands of calls with no major problems, but there are times when they are in serious danger.

Councilman Charles F. Smith Jr. said it is a "disgrace" that someone is out there who was trying to kill a police officer.

He said innocent people could have been killed when the gunman was shooting at the officer, making it bad for people who must walk home from work or to the store.

He said some streets have become a "war zone," and the incident is a "rude awakening" for the community.

Residents are going to have to get involved in the community, he said. "We are going to have to get tough" on crime.

Both councilmen said they encourage residents to call police if they have any information on the case.

Anyone who wishes to provide information is asked to call 449-5099 or 441-6416. Residents may also logon to www.alexpolice.com and submit anonymous tips.

http://www.thetowntalk.com/html/E6037D80-534D-492F-AA2A-03BD8F2C4B8F.shtml :( :(


part 2
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Alexandria officer killed in gun battle; six injured

Posted on February 20, 2003
One Alexandria police officer was killed today in a shootout near Overton and Warshauer streets as police closed in on a suspect believed to be involved in a Wednesday ambush on another officer.
Six other officers were wounded, said Police Chief Tommy Cicardo.
The wounded were taken to both St. Frances Cabrini and Rapides Regional hospitals.
The suspect also was shot and is believed to be dead.
Cicardo briefed The Town Talk at about 3:30 p.m. Tearfully, he confirmed the fatality but said no names would be released until family members were notified.
While trying to resolve the sitation, police also had to contend with people jeering them, some shouting obscenities.
Just before 3:30 p.m., police began surrounding the area with yellow crime scene tape and it appeared the situation was under control.
Students at Rapides Motivational Center and Alma Redwine Elementary School were under lockdown and district officials said no student would leave the school until the situation is resolved. Some students had been evacuated to the district's Media Center downtown.
School officials said parents of students who live in that area are being contacted to get their children. Those students are not being allowed on school buses. Those schools are Alexandria Middle, Arthur F. Smith, Peabody Magnet, Bolton and ASH.
If the parents cannot be contacted, those students will not be sent home until the incident is over.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office and the Louisiana State Police's SWAT team assisted the Alexandria department.

http://www.thetowntalk.com/update/1045769324.shtml

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Blackhawk
February 20, 2003, 08:23 PM
Two Alexandria police officers were killed today in a shootout near Overton and Warshauer streets as police closed in on a suspect believed to be involved in a Wednesday ambush on another officer.

Police Chief Tommy Cicardo confirmed one officer was dead around 3:30 p.m. Alexandria Mayor Ned Randolph told The Town Talk a second officer died late this afternoon.Two officers killed.... :(

I wonder if Mandy ever took J101...?

DeltaElite
February 20, 2003, 10:44 PM
Damn shame.
God Speed my friends.

Hawkeye755
February 20, 2003, 11:34 PM
TAPS

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep,
peaceful sleep.
May the soldier
or sailor,
God keep.
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.


Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
Speedeth all
To their rest.


Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.


Thanks and praise,
For our days,
'Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.

Author unknown

For those who pay the ultimate price.

Robby from Long Island
February 20, 2003, 11:51 PM
2 police officers KILLED!!!!

Is that what it takes for a moron like councilman Charles F. Smith Jr. to decide "we have to get tough on crime". Jerks like that should be lynched.:cuss:

I'd hate to think there are many more self righteous idiots like that on the council.

Maybe these guys should ride shotgun on the graveyard shift in the worst parts of town for a couple of months straight before their even allowed to run as candidates for the council.

Politicians make me sick.

rock jock
February 21, 2003, 12:42 AM
Residents are going to have to get involved in the community, he said. "We are going to have to get tough" on crime.
While trying to resolve the sitation, police also had to contend with people jeering them, some shouting obscenities.
Anybody see the contradiction here?

J Miller
February 21, 2003, 12:54 AM
A sad day for sure. But because of the nature of the job, it's bound to happen.

Please don't flame me for this comment, but since the people who jeered the police obviously don't want them there, why not just put out a big publicity campain saying: Since we are not wanted in such and such neighborhood, we have determined that the residents there are not worth risking one more police officer's life. Effective midnight tonight, you are on your own. Then simply do not send police, fire, or any emergency personnel into that area. Let them see what their lives will be like when the gangs and thugs take over.
Maybe then they will appreciate the sacrafies the police officers have made.
Maybe then they will get involved in a positive way.

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