Two police officers have been killed and five injured after a man allegedly opened fire on them while trying to investigate a domestic violence complaint.
According to John Hunt, sheriff of Floyd County, a rural area in the US state of Kentucky, a police dog – K9 Drago – was also killed in the shooting, which lasted for hours.
“They didn’t stand a chance,” he said of the officers, adding that they had encountered “pure hell” when they arrived on the scene.
Hunt said four deputies had gone to the house on Thursday to serve a court order.
After being fired upon, they had called for help.
State police arrived and the man surrendered after his family was involved in negotiations.
Hunt said one of his deputies William Petry was killed along with Police Captain Ralph Frasure of Prestonsburg, a 39-year-old law enforcement veteran.
Another Prestonsburg officer, Jacob Chaffins, is in hospital, while the other injured officers have not been named publicly.
Lance Storz, 49, was arrested late Thursday and appeared in court Friday morning, pleading not guilty to two murders of a police officer.
He also faces another charge of attempted murder and a charge of assaulting a service animal.
Court papers say Storz used a rifle to fire multiple shots at officers at his home on Main Street in the town of Allen.
‘Incredible heroism and sacrifice’
Attorney General Daniel Cameron said on social media that he was “heartbroken to learn of the deaths of two law enforcement officers”.
“Our law enforcement officers showed unimaginable heroism and sacrifice in the face of evil last night,” he added.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said on social media, “Floyd County and our brave first responders suffered a tragic loss last night.
“I want to ask all of Kentucky to join me in praying for this community.
“This is a tough morning for our commonwealth.”