Police officers salute as the bodies of two officers are...

Police officers salute as the bodies of two officers are transported to the Wally Howard Forensics Science Center in Syracuse, N.Y., Monday, April 15, 2024. Police officers from several local agencies gathered at Upstate hospital's emergency room to hear the news of the slain officers. Credit: AP/Dennis Nett

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. — Two law enforcement officers were fatally shot while looking for a driver who fled a traffic stop in upstate New York, authorities said Monday. The shooter was also killed in an exchange of gunfire with police.

The shootout took place shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday outside a house in the residential neighborhood of Liverpool, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) north of Syracuse, claiming the lives of Onondaga County Sheriff's Office Lt. Michael Hoosock and Syracuse police officer Michael Jensen, authorities said. The slain shooter was identified by the local district attorney as Christopher Murphy, 33.

Jensen had attempted earlier to pull over a car, but the driver refused to stop and sped off, according to Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick.

The police officers tracked the license plate to the address in nearby Liverpool, requesting assistance from the sheriff’s office.

Officers were inspecting the vehicle and moving around the house they heard what sounded like “a gun being manipulated,” so they took cover, Syracuse Police Chief Joseph Cecile said during a news conference on Monday afternoon.

Inside the house, Murphy had told a friend police were not going to arrest him and that the friend needed to leave. The friend ran from the house and was apprehended, authorities said.

Hoosock, a 17-year veteran of the force with a wife and three young children, was looking for cover behind a maple tree in an adjacent yard when he was ambushed. The suspect fired from a back deck, Sheriff Toby Shelley said at the Monday briefing.

Armed law enforcement officers patrol around the scene of a...

Armed law enforcement officers patrol around the scene of a shooting in Liverpool, N.Y., Sunday, April 14, 2024. A police officer and a sheriff's deputy in upstate New York were shot and killed Sunday night in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect, who also was killed, police said. Credit: AP

“We believe the first officer shot is a sheriff’s deputy in the rear of the house. And I don’t believe he knew what was coming,” Fitzpatrick said.

Jensen, on the force for less than three years, was struck after the shooter went to to the front of the house and fired on Syracuse police officers with an AR-15-style rifle. Jensen was among the officers who returned fire, police said.

Fitzpatrick said the officer was struck near the armpit in an area not protected by his vest.

The Syracuse officer, sheriff’s deputy and the shooter were brought to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. All three were pronounced dead at the hospital, Cecile said.

Armed law enforcement officers patrol around the scene of a...

Armed law enforcement officers patrol around the scene of a shooting in Liverpool, N.Y., Sunday, April 14, 2024. A police officer and a sheriff's deputy in upstate New York were shot and killed Sunday night in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect, who also was killed, police said. Credit: AP

“We lost two heroes last night,” Cecile said.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was “horrified by the senseless killing” of the two officers.

“My prayers are with their families, loved ones, and their colleagues,” the governor posted on X. “New York will never forget their heroism and service.”

The officers were the first law enforcement officers to be killed in the line of duty in Onondaga County since Officer Wallie Howard Jr. was shot to death during an undercover drug operation in October 1990, officials said.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, "This is a dark day for Syracuse. This is our worst nightmare come true.”

Murphy had no criminal record beyond being charged with driving while intoxicated a decade ago, Fitzpatrick said.

The investigation was continuing.

“There’s nothing routine out there in this day and age at all for law enforcement,” Cecile said.

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