Updates follow original article.

The approach of the election doesn’t appear to be slowing down the most dangerous criminal elements in the country. Out in Iowa the citizens are waking up today to another grim reminder of the dangerous state of unrest which plagues many of our cities. In what should be an unimaginable tragedy in a sane society, two more police officers were assassinated in the early morning hours in separate, cowardly ambush attacks. Both officers were attacked in their vehicles. (NBC News)

Two police officers were fatally shot in their cars during separate “ambush-style attacks” in greater Des Moines early Wednesday, authorities said.

Sgt. Paul Parizek, a public information officer with the Des Moines Police Department, told reporters there was a “clear and present danger to police officers” and that a suspect remained on the run.

He added that there did “not appear that there was any interaction between these officers and the coward who shot them.”

Parizek said the officers “were gunned down when they were sitting in their cars.”

There have been too many police officer deaths this year to cover every one, but these are examples of the worst of the worst. Being a cop is dangerous to begin with and a number of these incidents stem from officers responding to reports of a crime in progress, a domestic dispute or some other volatile situation. While still awful, it’s at least possible to understand how criminals fearing capture could wind up in a shootout with authorities. These murders in Iowa don’t fall into that category. When a police officer is sitting in their squad car having no interaction with anyone and a coward sneaks up on them and opens fire, that’s a calculated attack on the fabric of civil society. Assassination is the only word to describe it.

I wish these two deaths could be considered an isolated incident, but as Fox News reported earlier this summer, 2016 has been a deadly year for the police, with a marked uptick in firearms attacks on officers from the previous year.

Shooting deaths of law enforcement officers spiked 78 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to last year, including an alarming increase in ambush-style assaults like the ones that killed eight officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, according to a report released Wednesday.

However, data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund shows that firearms-related deaths of officers in the line of duty are still lower than they were during previous decades like the 1970s.

Thirty-two officers died in firearms-related incidents so far this year including 14 that were ambush-style attacks, according to the report. During the same period last year, 18 officers were shot and killed in the line of duty including three that were considered ambush attacks.

NBC helpfully provides the following widget which tracks historical records of police deaths by state so you can check the record of violence where you live.

The hunt is on for the killer or killers in Iowa and hopefully they will be brought to justice soon. The names of the deceased have not been released to the public yet, but our prayers go out for them, their families and communities.

UPDATE: (Jazz)

A suspect was named fairly quickly after this article was originally published and in a matter of hours he is already in custody. NBC News is reporting that 46 year old Scott Michael Greene has been captured after an intense manhunt.

A suspect was arrested Wednesday morning in the killing of two Des Moines-area police officers slain in separate “ambush-style attacks” while sitting in their cars, Iowa authorities said.

Scott Michael Greene, 46, was captured in nearby Dallas County amid a manhunt following the early-morning shootings, Des Moines Police Lt. Chris Scott told NBC News. He was being transported back to Des Moines for questioning.

Earlier, police described Greene, of the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale, as armed and dangerous, and said he posed a “clear and present danger to police officers.”

Here’s the only picture of the suspect so far.

scottgreene

Not many details are being released so it’s too soon to leave the “alleged” off of this guy’s description, but the local authorities certainly seem to think they’ve got the right guy. If their evidence pans out we’ll do a separate post with new developments as the case develops. Good work by the cops on this one for finding and apprehending their man so quickly. If he does turn out to be guilty, this is one excellent candidate for a date with the executioner, perhaps on federal charges if not at the state level.

crimescene