Feb. 19, 2011 -- A Poughkeepsie, N.Y. police officer and a man and woman believed to be husband and wife are dead, all shot in a rapid-fire series of events Friday that appeared to involve a dispute over a child.
It began at around 1 p.m. Friday when police received a call about a woman shot, and arrived on the scene to find a woman wounded in a car and a man walking away holding a small child, police said.
"When [a police officer] tried to confront the suspect, he tried to run from him," Poughkeepsie Police Chief Ronald Knapp said.
The officer was able to overtake the suspect and confront him a second time, and he somehow got the 3-year-old child out of the man's arms and gave the toddler to a bystander as other police arrived.
"He removed the baby from his hands and handed it off to a civilian in the area," Knapp said.
As more police arrived on the scene, there was a quick exchange of gunfire, during which the first officer on the scene, a 44-year-old with 18 years experience, was shot in the head, Knapp said.
"It was a single gunshot," the police chief said.
The suspect was also shot in the exchange of gunfire, but Knapp said it wasn't clear whether he had shot himself or whether he was shot by one of the police officers.
"All this happened in basically a five-minute period of time," Knapp said.
"I heard a couple of shots," Rick Ferrell, who lives nearby, told ABC station WABC-TV in New York. "Seemed like a massacre happened out there."
The wounded officer was taken to Vassar Brothers Medical Center in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the head. He died hours later.
A second officer suffered minor injuries and a half dozen others were involved.
The suspect was taken to St. Francis Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:15 p.m.
The woman was taken to a hospital, but also died of her wounds, police said.
Police had not released the names of either the police officer or the man and woman, pending notification of their families.
The child was unharmed.