Trooper killed in Penn. barracks attack highlights ambush spike

A manhunt for the shooter in a fatal ambush attack on a state highway patrol barracks in Pennsylvania Friday night underscores a troubling rise in the number of surprise attacks on police officers.

John J. Watkins/The Times/AP
Police officers salute fallen Merrillville, Ind., patrolman Nickolaus Schultz Sept. 10. The 24-year-old officer died Sunday two days after a man wearing body armor shot him during an apparent ambush.

A three-state manhunt for the shooter in a fatal ambush attack on a state highway patrol barracks in Dunmore, Penn., on Friday night underscores a troubling rise in the number of surprise attacks on police officers throughout the US in the past few years.

One trooper was killed and another injured after someone opened fire just outside the gates of the barracks during a shift change late Friday evening. State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said the attack appeared to be solely directed at state police.

Police say a massive manhunt has netted one “person of interest” so far, but that person has not been charged with any crime. “We can’t say that the situation is completely in hand,” Mr. Noonan told reporters Saturday morning.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Fund, which tallies the numbers of officers killed on duty, began sounding an alarm four years ago about a rise in the number of ambush attacks on police officers.

A series of high-profile “movie-style” ambushes targeted members of the justice system in 2013, when a judge, prosecutor, and prison warden were gunned down in planned attacks. Earlier this week, Merrillville, Ind., officer Nickolaus Schultz was shot and killed in an apparent ambush attack by a man who subsequently killed himself. 

A USA Today review in 2011 showed that nearly 40 percent of officer deaths were from ambush attacks, up from 31 percent two years earlier. 

Ambush attacks are "generally accomplished from cover or hiding; however, they can occur without cover or hiding," the FBI says.

The Pennsylvania barracks shooting took place in a small town near Scranton. Police from across the region, including a police helicopter and SWAT teams, descended on the area to search for the shooter. Police said they had several leads. One of the troopers had just arrived at the barracks and the other was leaving when they were attacked. Authorities have not yet released the names of the troopers.

While significant, the number of ambush shootings of police today is down significantly from the 1970s, when attacks spiked in an era where there was generally less respect for police officers. “When respect goes up, the attacks go down,” former FBI chief Tom Fuentes told CNN last year.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Trooper killed in Penn. barracks attack highlights ambush spike
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2014/0913/Trooper-killed-in-Penn.-barracks-attack-highlights-ambush-spike
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe