Sgt. Anthony Bemino and Officer Justin Martin were gunned down in an ambush-style attack in the early morning of November 2nd in Urbandale, Iowa. A matter of hours after the attack, prime suspect Scott Michael Greene was taken into custody by the Urbandale Police Department. According to the Des Moines Police Department, Green surrendered to Dallas County law enforcement officers at around 9:30 a.m.
Officer Martin was sitting in his patrol car when the shooter initially approached the driver’s side of the vehicle. Without warning, the shooter opened fire. Bystanders within ear shot of the shooting called 911. Officers arrived at the scene, discovering Officer Martin dead in his patrol car. Twenty minutes after the shooting, the same shooter had ambushed Sergeant Beminio.
Sergeant Beminio served in the line of duty with the Des Moines Police Department for 11 years while Officer Martin served 15 months. It was revealed that in the weeks leading up to the killings, Greene had several confrontations with police over conflict with strangers and his own family.
In reaction to the event, Sgt. Paul Parizek, spokesman for the Des Moines Police Department, stated, “There is clearly danger if you are a police officer, these guys were gunned down, sitting in their car, doing nothing wrong. So, there is definitely some danger out there.”
These killings are the latest in a year where police killings have spiked. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports that law enforcement officers fatally shot in the line of duty has risen to 57 in 2016 up from 35 in 2015. Additionally, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has seen an alarming increase in ambush-style killings: 14 compared to last year’s total of three. More than half of the officers killed in action this year were killed as a result of ambush-style attacks.
Iowa is the latest to join a number of states included in the list of ambush killings. Other states include Texas, where five officers were gunned down in Dallas, and Louisiana, where three officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge.