DES MOINES, IOWA - Two police officers in the Des Moines metro-area were shot and killed in apparent "ambush-style" attacks early Wednesday.
Police from Urbandale and Des Moines responded to a report of gunfire at the intersection of 70th Street and Aurora Avenue about 1:06 a.m. CT (2:06 a.m. ET).
The first officers arriving on the scene found an Urbandale officer shot. The officer, whose name was not released, died, said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek in a news release.
At about 1:26 a.m., a Des Moines police officer was shot and killed near the intersection of Merle Hay Road and Sheridan Drive while responding to the scene where the Urbandale officer was shot. The officer's name was not released.
Both officers were gunned down in their patrol cars.
The police departments are wary of officers' safety, as the attack appeared targeted at officers. Des Moines Police has paired up its patrol officers so no officer is on patrol alone, Parizek said.
"There's literally a clear and present danger if you're a police officer," he said.
As of an early morning news conference, police were still notifying the family members of the slain officers and planned to withhold the officers' names, years of service and other details until later in the day, Parizek said.
Police had no information on suspects. They could not say how many shots were fired or how many people may have been shooting.
For Des Moines, this is the first police officer shot and killed in the line of duty since two officers were gunned down in separate incidents in 1977.
Two Des Moines officers, Susan Farrell and Carlos Puente-Morales, also died earlier this year when their vehicle was struck head-on by a wrong-way drunk driver.
This is probably the first Urbandale officer shot in the line of duty, Urbandale Police spokesman Sgt. Chad Underwood said at the news conference.
Parizek thanked the community for its support when the department lost Farrell and Puente-Morales, as well as with this tragedy.
"I don't even know where to begin on how bad this year is," he said. But, "this is what we do. We come in day in and day out, we go out there and provide the same level of service regardless of what's going on in our personal and professional lives."