Targeted Killings Of Police Officers Surging In US

It is a grim statistic that keeps getting worse: more and more police officers are being killed in surprise attacks in which they have little or no chance to defend themselves.

The Associated Press reports that 56 officers have been killed by gunfire in 2022, which is 14% more than at this time last year and a staggering 45% higher than the 2020 pace of deaths.

Just last week, Sgt. Dustin Demonte and Officer Alex Hamzy were gunned down in an apparent ambush attack in Bristol, Connecticut. Investigators say 35-year-old Nicholas Brutcher was the assailant and was also killed by return fire from officer Alec Iurato, who survived.

The officers were responding to a 911 call that apparently was made just to lure them to the scene.

Demonte was a 10-year police veteran and former co-Officer of the Year whose wife is expecting their third child. Hamzy went to work for his hometown police force eight years ago.

The two deaths pushed the U.S. closer to the deadliest year for law enforcement since 67 officers were killed in 2016. And ambushes now account for almost half of American officers killed by gunfire.

At least 11 officers were shot across the nation last week, including two fatally in Greeneville, Mississippi and Las Vegas. An off-duty officer was killed last week along with four others in a mass shooting by a 15-year-old in North Carolina, but investigators do not know if he was targeted.

Bill Alexander of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial said that the figures have become “really scary” for officers. And not only for individuals.

The agencies they work for also have to take this “into account as they’re hiring, retaining, and training officers,” Alexander noted.

The Fraternal Order of Police said that through the end of September, there had been 63 ambush attacks nationally in which officers were wounded by gunfire. The organization reports 93 officers have been shot, resulting in 24 deaths.

This follows a year in 2021 that saw ambushes of law enforcement more than double from 2020. And these totals are high even as thousands of officers left their jobs in the past two years.