A Joplin police officer and a suspected gunman were killed and two other officers remain hospitalized following a pair of shootings Tuesday afternoon that unfolded as police sought to apprehend a man who fled arrest. Assistant Chief Brian Lewis said officers were first called around 1:30 p.m. to a reported disturbance involving an armed man near the intersection of Fourth Street and Range Line Road. Two arriving officers were attempting to arrest the man when he shot them both and stole a police cruiser, Lewis said. Other responding officers chased the stolen patrol vehicle, leading to a car wreck. The man then fled on foot to Ninth Street and Connecticut Avenue, roughly a mile from the original shooting, where he encountered more police officers.
The man allegedly fired at officers again, injuring one, before another officer returned fire, Lewis said. The suspect was fatally struck during the encounter. The three officers and the suspect were taken to area hospitals for medical treatment. One wounded officer and the suspect died in the hospital, Lewis said. Another officer was in critical condition and the third was listed in serious but stable condition as of Tuesday night, Lewis said.
Names of the officers and the suspect were not immediately disclosed by police. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been called in to assist with the investigation. The state agency often reviews shootings that involve police officers.