KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The community is mourning the death of two Kissimmee officers shot in the line of duty Friday night.
The officers were shot in the area of Cypress and Palmway streets, police said.
Kissimmee police Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard were shot in a scuffle at about 9:30 p.m. Friday at Palmway and East Cypress streets near East Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway and North Main Street, Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell said.
President Trump and the community have taken to Twitter to offer their condolences.
Kissimmee Mayor Jose Alvarez said in a statement, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of our fallen officer, Matthew Baxter who lost his life in the line of duty on Friday, August 18th. Our prayers also go out to Sergeant Sam Howard and his family as he remains in critical condition. The entire City of Kissimmee is in mourning. We pray for all law enforcement who are out there, protecting our community."
Kissimmee Vice Mayor Wanda Rentas also released a statement: My sincere and heartfelt condolences to Officer Matthew Baxter wife, family, friends and KPD brother's and sister's. I'm heartbroken that his children will not have their daddy in their lives. God bless all the first responders as well as the men and women in blue."
Governor Rick Scott released the following statement:
Tough night for law enforcement and our communities. Please take time to thank your police officers and deputies who keep all of us safe.— Chief John Mina (@ChiefJohnMina) August 19, 2017
Thoughts and Prayers are with Kissimmee Police Department and the families of the officers. pic.twitter.com/l7kgMvLEZf— Titusville Police FL (@TitusvillePD) August 19, 2017
We are sad to report that two Kissimmee officers were killed on duty tonight. They are in our thoughts and prayers. https://t.co/rdcyZxCp3D— Ormond Beach Police (@ORMONDBEACHPD) August 19, 2017
The men and women of BCFR stand with our brothers and sisters in blue tonight as we mourn the loss of two Kissimmee Police Officers.— BCFRpio (@BCFRpio) August 19, 2017
Our deepest condolences to the families of the 2 fallen KPD officers. To our family @kissimmeepolice , we walk this together.— St.Cloud Police Dept (@StCloudPD) August 19, 2017
We're all standing with KPD tonight. Our thoughts & prayers are with them. Hearts sink when we hear these words https://t.co/Vhyio5oUzV— Mike Chitwood (@SheriffChitwood) August 19, 2017
Our solidarity is with @kissimmeepolice as they deal with this tragic loss.— OCSO FL News (@OrangeCoSheriff) August 19, 2017
Sending our thoughts and prayers to @kissimmeepolice— Chief John Mina (@ChiefJohnMina) August 19, 2017
Our thoughts are with Kissimmee PD! https://t.co/BNWkquSaWV— cocoapolice (@cocoapolice) August 19, 2017
Our prayers are w/ @kissimmeepolice officers, friends & families. Our hearts are heavy w/ this incredible loss.— Mayor Buddy Dyer (@orlandomayor) August 19, 2017
A tragic loss for our central Florida community. My heart goes out to the families of Sgt. Howard and Officer Baxter. https://t.co/EfhDEqAxmw— Rep Stephanie Murphy (@RepStephMurphy) August 19, 2017
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Kissimmee Police Department and the families of the fallen Officers as well... https://t.co/t9kJTpBdPX— Sumter Sheriff FL (@SCSOFL) August 19, 2017
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi released the following statement:
“Late last night, I spoke to Kissimmee Police Chief O’Dell after learning of the murder of Officer Matt Baxter and the shooting of Sergeant Sam Howard, who was gravely injured. We ask everyone to continue praying for the families of the Kissimmee officers as well as Officers Michael Fox and Kevin Gerald of the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office who were also shot in the line of duty last night.
This horrific violence against law enforcement will not be tolerated, and as Attorney General I will continue to ensure those who commit violence against our law enforcement officers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Our thoughts and prayers are also with the two Pennsylvania Highway Patrol Troopers who were shot Friday night. Brave men and women throughout our country risk their lives each day to protect us and keep our children safe, and as a country we must do everything we can to support them.”
“I am heartbroken by the tragic loss of Police Officer Matthew Baxter, one of our local heroes who died in the line of duty. On behalf of my family, staff, and the residents of Florida’s 9th district, we send our sincerest condolences to Baxter’s family and loved ones. We also join in prayer for the recovery of Sergeant Sam Howard who continues to be in critical condition.Friday’s senseless act of violence against our Police Officers is appalling. We cannot tolerate it. As we mourn, let us honor our law enforcement officers by recognizing their indispensable contributions to our communities. I am grateful to all of the brave men and women at the Kissimmee Police Department for sacrificing their lives on a daily basis to keep Central Florida safe.Following this horrific incident, I will be recognizing Officer Baxter and Sergeant Howard by calling for a moment of silence on the House floor and flying American flags over the U.S. Capitol in their honor.”
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