Sergeant Sam Howard died today afternoon at a hospital where he had been taken following last night's attack in Kissimmee, Florida, located south of the theme park hub of Orlando.
A police officer in Florida died from his injuries today, a day after his colleague was killed when a suspect fired at them during a scuffle while they were on patrol. The suspect was later arrested at a bar. Sergeant Sam Howard died today afternoon at a hospital where he had been taken following last night’s attack in Kissimmee, Florida, located south of the theme park hub of Orlando. Officer Matthew Baxter died last night, a short time after authorities say he was shot by 45-year-old Everett Miller. Miller faces a charge of first-degree murder for the killing of Baxter. Authorities hadn’t yet said what charges he could face for Howard’s death. During a patrol late yesterday of a neighbourhood with a history of drug activity, Baxter was “checking out” three people, including Miller, when the officer got into a scuffle with Miller. Howard, his sergeant, responded as backup, said Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell. The officers didn’t have an opportunity to return fire.
They weren’t wearing body cameras. Sheriff’s deputies with a neighbouring law enforcement agency later tracked Miller down to a bar and approached him. Miller started reaching toward his waistband when the deputies tackled and subdued him, O’Dell said. They found a handgun and revolver on him. “They were extremely brave and heroic actions taken by the deputies,” O’Dell said. The police chief said Miller was taken to jail wearing Baxter’s handcuffs. Authorities originally said they believed there were four suspects, but the chief said today that no other arrests are anticipated. Miller, 45, was a Marine veteran and was recently involuntarily committed for a mental evaluation by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
The early stages of the investigation shows that Miller had made threats to law enforcement on Facebook, O’Dell said. Baxter, 27, had been with the Kissimmee Police Department for three years. He was married to another Kissimmee police officer and they have four children. Howard, 36, has served with the Kissimmee Police Department for 10 years. He and his wife have one child, O’Dell said. “They are two wonderful men, family men,” O’Dell said. “They are two committed to doing it the right way.” Separately, two other officers were injured late yesterday in Jacksonville, Florida, after police responded to reports of an attempted suicide at a home where the mother of the man’s child, their 19-month-old toddler, the woman’s mother and a family friend were thought to be in danger. One of the officers was shot in both hands and the other was shot in the stomach. Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said today that officers Michael Fox and Kevin Jarrell are in stable condition following last night’s confrontation with an armed Derrick Brabham, who was killed by the officers.
In Pennsylvania, two state troopers were shot and a suspect killed outside a small-town store south of Pittsburgh last night. In a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, a suspect was fatally shot and an officer injured after they got into a struggle. President Trump tweeted early today that his thoughts and prayers were with the Kissimmee Police Department. “We are with you!” he said. Florida Governor Rick Scott tweeted he was “heartbroken” by the attacks on the officers. US Representative Darren Soto said today that he will ask for American flags to be flown over the US Capitol and he plans to ask for a moment of silence on the floor of the US House to honour the officers.