2 officers shot near Orlando, 2 shot in Jacksonville

Florida shootings not believed to be related

By Michelle Ganley - Online Editor
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A look at the scene in Kissimmee on Friday night (WKMG-TV).

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two officers were shot Friday night in Kissimmee, which is about 23 miles south of Orlando, and two more were shot in the Jacksonville area, according to officials.

At this time, it does not appear the two shootings are related to one another.

In Kissimmee, the officers were shot about 9:30 p.m. while responding to a suspicious-person call, in an area known for drug activity, officials said.

Both officers wore body armor and their uniforms.

Police initially confirmed that both men had died, but then provided an update saying one officer was killed and the other is "gravely hurt." The injured officer's prognosis is not good, police said.

The Associated Press is reporting their names as officers Sam Howard and Matthew Baxter. It's Howard who is in serious condition, the AP said.

One man was taken into custody and is being called a "strong suspect." Another man was taken into custody after police caught up with him at a local bar. A third person is at large and officers said they'd like to speak with a fourth person, as well.

One of the officers was shot in the head at close range, a source told WKMG-TV. Up until Friday night, it had been 34 years since a Kissimmee Police Department officer was killed in the line of duty.

The Florida Highway Patrol issued a warning to drivers, advising them to stay out of the area due to heavy police activity. Several law enforcement agencies are assisting with the Kissimmee case.

In Jacksonville, the two officers were shot on the city’s Westside, the Sheriff’s Office said. It happened about 11 p.m. near Seaboard Avenue and Timuquana Road, for anyone familiar with the area.

One officer is listed in critical condition while the other is stable. The person responsible for the shooting is dead, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Stay with our sister stations, WKMG-TV in Orlando and WJXT-TV in Jacksonville for the latest developments as they become available.

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