Authorities in northern Mississippi are searching for a man who shot and wounded a police officer as he responded to a prowler call early Wednesday, reports the Associated Press.
Officer Kevin Parker Jr. was responding to a call around 4 a.m. when a man wearing a backpack darted out in front of his patrol car, reports WTVA.
“Officer Parker got out, told him to stop,” said WTVA reporter Craig Ford. “That’s when the suspect attacked him. They got into a tussle. The suspect was able to get Officer Parker’s gun. He shot him twice – once in the chest, once in the shoulder.”
Corinth Police Chief Ralph Dance has said Parker is now in stable condition at a Tupelo hospital.
Police officers in the United States have come under intense scrutiny for incidents involving fatal shootings of suspects, but there is another side to coin of police shootings, as evidenced by incidents such as this.
On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 60 hours, says The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. So far this year, 76 officers have died in the line of duty, 22 of which involved firearms, according to NLEOMF.
Back in the Magnolia State, officials from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Mississippi Highway Patrol, and Alcorn County Sheriff's Department have come together to hunt for the shooter, reported the AP.
Chief Dance said the officer is white and the suspect is black. Though Parker had only worked for the police department for seven to eight months, Dance told reporters that he is “an outstanding officer.”
Parker’s bulletproof vest saved his life, the chief told WTVA. Officers had only received the upgraded vests about three months before.
The latest shooting mirrors that of two other police officers in Hattiesburg, Miss., in May, when Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate were killed by assailants in a routine traffic stop and sent a community into mourning, reported The Christian Science Monitor.
Then, Officers Deen and Tate “were the 41st and 42nd US officers to die in the line of duty so far this year,” according to the Monitor.
This report contains material from the Associated Press.