Police under fire in three states

Police under fire in three states

Suspect in 4 slayings killed, 3 cops wounded

WEST UNION, Ohio - An 8-year-old girl apparently slept through the fatal shootings of four family members, then awoke and alerted a neighbor that something horrible had happened overnight, pointing investigators to the rural home, where they found a television in her bedroom still playing cartoons.

A short time later, nearly 100 miles away, one of the girl's relatives was killed in a shootout with police, who didn't know at the time that he was suspected in the quadruple homicide.

Randle Lee Roberts II died in the shootout in Columbus on Saturday about an hour after the girl went out the back door of her pale blue, one-floor modular house and ran to a neighbor's home. The neighbor called authorities, who were stunned by what they found at the girl's home, about 90 miles southeast of Columbus.

Adams County Sheriff Kim Rogers said Roberts had been staying at the home for several months, apparently because he was a burglary suspect and there were warrants for him in the Columbus area. Court records show Roberts, 27, faced felony charges of burglary and receiving stolen property late last year and failed to appear in court.

"I don't know what set him off," Rogers said.

The neighbors hadn't heard anything, and there were no signs of a struggle, the sheriff said. The girl's 34-year-old mother, Kendra Stephens, and 11-year-old sister, Harley, were found in one bedroom. The door to a second bedroom was locked, so authorities broke through a window to find 46-year-old Sonja Stephens dead in bed.

In the living room, upright in a chair, they found 68-year-old George Stephens, grandfather of Roberts' wife. Authorities are trying to clarify how the others are related.

As Adams County authorities were beginning their investigation, police in Columbus had responded to two calls about shots fired into homes and ended up pursuing a vehicle driven by Roberts. He crashed the truck in a residential area, fired at the officer chasing him and ran off, evading authorities for more than 10 minutes before a shootout erupted at about 11 a.m., police Sgt. Rich Weiner said.

Three officers were shot in the exchange and were treated for injuries that weren't life-threatening.

The Associated Press

1 cop killed, 2nd hurt in gunbattle at club

PHOENIX - A police officer from the west Phoenix suburb of Buckeye was killed and a second officer critically wounded Sunday in a shootout that also left a suspect dead.

The off-duty officers were working a private security job at a nightclub when they got into a fight that ended with a gunbattle, police spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.

The wounded officer was shot more than once. A second suspect also was wounded and was in critical condition at midday Sunday. Police were looking for a third person who fled the scene.

The shooting happened just after 1 a.m. at a swap meet called El Gran Mercado that also has an open-air nightclub with a stage for concerts and a dance floor, Thompson said.

The Arizona Republic identified the dead officer as Rolando Tirado and the wounded officer as Christopher Paz.

Tirado was a married father of two children who had been a police officer for 11 years, seven with the Buckeye Police Department. Paz was a four-year veteran of the department.

The Associated Press

Murder suspect accused in shooting of 2 cops

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - A man accused of murder in the shootings of four people in Springfield, including two police officers, had escaped from prison to avenge the shooting of his mother, police say.

Tamik Kirkland had been missing since Monday from MCI Shirley, a state prison about 42 miles northwest of Boston.

He is accused of taking part in at least three shootings, including one Saturday in which authorities say he shot two people, one fatally, in a barbershop and later shot two officers. State police identified the man fatally shot as Sheldon R. Innocent, 24. of Wilbraham. The other victim, a 48-year-old barber whose name was not released, was in critical condition.

Police say Kirkland was eligible for parole next February and escaped from prison after learning his mother was wounded in a shooting April 23. Police are investigating how the victims Saturday may be connected to the shooting of Kirkland's mother.

Acting on a tip from a 911 caller, two plainclothes Springfield police officers went to a duplex where a car was backed into the driveway.

As police approached, a man dived into the trunk of the car. Police blocked the car and took the driver, an unidentified woman, into custody. When they opened the trunk, Kirkland popped out and opened fire on the officers, police said.

The state trooper and one of the local officers were each shot once in the chest before they returned fire, police said. Kirkland was shot several times and is in serious condition.

The Associated Press

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