Kansas police officer murder 'not a planned ambush'
Published 20/07/2016 | 03:31
A Kansas police officer shot and killed while searching for a suspect was not targeted in a planned ambush, police officials have said.
Kansas City police chief Terry Zeigler said Captain Robert Melton was shot several times through his window while the suspect attempted to evade capture.
Capt Melton had driven up to someone who matched the description of a suspect being hunted for a drive-by shooting at 2pm local time on Tuesday, but was shot at before he could even get out of his vehicle. He died a short time later in hospital.
Mr Zeigler said the murder was not part of the recent string of shootings in the US, but he warned that "hate against police has got to stop".
He said: "The crime does not fit the national narrative of planned attacks against law enforcement officers, but it does fit the narrative fact that words matter. The anti-hate speech has got to stop because the consequences are real."
Authorities believe they have all suspects in custody, but no charges have been announced.
An emotional Mr Zeigler also thanked the community for their support.
Tributes have been paid to the 46-year-old officer, who was a 17-year veteran of the Kansas City Police Department.
Police have set up a table draped in blue cloth inside their headquarters in Kansas City where people can place cards and flowers.
Kathryn Courtney said Capt Melton had been "born to protect and serve".
As she left a bouquet of yellow daisies, she said she had known Capt Melton for nearly 20 years and he was "a wonderful man with a heart of gold".
Mayor Mark Holland, of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, said: "There's a lot of pain and brokenness in our community and our nation right now, and we just want to ask everyone to be prayerful and thoughtful right now."
According to his LinkedIn profile, Capt Melton had also served in the Kansas Army National Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan from September 2010 to March 2012.