[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n November 2, 2016, two officers – one in the Des Moines area and the other in the Urbandale area – were fatally wounded by Urbandale resident Scott Michael Greene. These shots would go on to take the lives of the policemen.
The suspect was arrested a day later, after a state-wide manhunt found him in Dallas County, Iowa. The Washington Post said, “On at least two occasions — one just weeks before the shootings — Greene apparently was involved in tense, racially-infused confrontations.” The 46-year-old also admitted to having “an existing medical condition that was flaring up,” according to Sgt. Paul Parizek.
Law officials have stated that no interaction occurred between the shooter and the victims. There was also no reported motive or explanation for the ambush. Police described both shootings as sudden, violent ambushes.
“It doesn’t appear that either officer had an opportunity to interact with the suspect,” Parizek said. “It doesn’t look like there was an exchange of conversation. There definitely wasn’t an opportunity for these officers to defend themselves … Both officers were seated in their cars and were shot while they were sitting.”
Many people tried to attribute the attacks to racial profiling; however, the victims and the gunman are all white. Several tried to claim Greene was a “Black Lives Matter” activist, but these allegations proved to be false; a photo surfaced on the internet shortly after the allegation, with Greene waving a Confederate flag in front of a group of African-Americans.
The two officers, 24-year-old Justin Martin and 39-year-old Sgt. Anthony “Tony” Beminio, were both reportedly shot while sitting in their squad vehicles, and had no prior engagements with the shooter.
[pullquote]”But let me be clear: there is no message in murder.” – Attorney General Loretta Lynch[/pullquote]
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa said to ABC News, “This was a senseless act of violence and it cannot be tolerated.”
President Barack Obama spoke out on the event, saying, “Sergeant Anthony Beminio and Officer Justin Martin represented our best, most decent instincts as human beings – to serve our neighbors, to put ourselves in harm’s way for someone else,” He continued with, “They knew the dangers of their job. They knew the risks. Yet they chose to dedicate themselves to those values anyway.”
Hillary Clinton posted on her Twitter account about the shooting, voicing her anguish and heartbreak for the families and lives lost. Donald Trump also posted on his Twitter account, calling the attack “an attack on us all.”
In a statement to the Washington Post, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch decried the shootings, calling them “yet another reminder of the tremendous dangers that law enforcement officers face each and every day.”
She also referred to the tension felt between police and communities of color, unease that has flared up during regular protests in recent years over how police officers use force.
“I know that this is a time of particular tension and mistrust between law enforcement and many communities,” she said. “I know that while we do not yet know what led the perpetrator to commit these awful crimes, many will be nevertheless be tempted to read a message or motive into this assault.”