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3 Things to Know About the "Ambush" Killings of 2 Iowa Police Killings


Following the apparant ambush killing of two Iowa police officers on Nov. 2, a suspect has now been taken into custody, CNN reports. Although this news likely comforts friends and family, the officers' deaths has badly affected the Des Moines community's morale, as two other officers died less than eight months ago due to a drunk driver navigating the wrong way.

Because there are already so many components to this case, we've broken down the need-to-know information of this tragic story below.

1. The officers were attacked while patrolling areas in their police vehicles.

Urbandale Police Officer Justin Martin, 24, and Des Moines Police Sgt. Anthony Beminio, 38, were killed about two miles apart in the early hours of Nov. 2, according to The Des Moines Register. At about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, an off-duty officer heard gunshots over a dispatcher, while an Urbandale resident, Russell Cheatem, noticed a man standing next to a police car's window on the driver's side. When the man drove away in his own car and the police car remained, Cheatem went outside and found Martin. "When I saw the bullet holes, I pulled the door open and realized there was nothing I could do for him," he told the Register. After calling 911, Cheatem heard even more gunshots—Beminio was on his way to assist Martin, but was attacked by the same gunman that killed his colleague. 

Beside being so young, Martin was also the first Urbandale officer killed while on the job, while Beminio was the 23rd Des Moines officer that died on duty. Quoting the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the Register article counts the two men as among 16 officers killed in ambush attacks in the United States this year.

2. The suspect was taken into custody after walking down the road and flagging down a Department of Natural Resources Officer.

Scott Michael Greene flagged down the state officer to ask him to call 911 and was deemed a potential suspect by 9:30 Wednesday morning. Police had actually met him before, asking him to leave a high school football game two weeks prior when he waved a Confederate flag in front of black students. The New York Times even reports that he has been described as "a troubled loner," mentioning that Greene had been ordered by a court to move out of his mother's house only hours before the killings because of "emotional and physical abuse." It is suspected that Greene's attack was unprovoked, as Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said before Greene was named a suspect, "It doesn't look like there was any interaction between these officers and whoever the coward is that shot them while they sat in their cars."

Greene was brought to the hospital after complaining of health problems, and he will be interrogated there.

3. The killings have received responses from both presidential candidates.

President Barack Obama released a statement honoring the victims, saying that the officers "represented our best, most decent instincts as human beings—to serve our neighbors, to put ourselves in harm's way for someone else." Tweeting that she was "heartbroken," Hillary Clinton and her running mate Tim Kaine cancelled a Des Moines event scheduled for Wednesday evening. Donald Trump also responded, tweeting, "An attack on those who keep us safe is an attack on us all." 

The Washington Post published a statement from Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, stating, "I know that while we do not yet know what led the perpetrator to commit these awful crimes, many will be nevertheless tempted to read a message or motive into this assault. But let me be clear: there is no message in murder."

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