A police officer responding to a call in a car park has been shot and killed by an intoxicated man holding a beer, according to police.
Officer Anthony Dia was shot in the chest a Home Depot car park in Toleda, in the US state of Ohio, just after midnight Saturday (local time), and was later pronounced dead at hospital, Police Chief George Kral told a news conference.
Witnesses told police the man, identified as Edward Henry, shot the officer with a handgun and then went into a nearby forrest, from which officers heard a single gunshot coming a short time later.
Henry, described as a 57-year-old white male, was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound to the head about 3.15am.
Hours before being fatally shot, Mr Dia posed with two children after showing them inside his police car and allowing them to turn on the lights and sirens.
Mr Kral said Mr Dia was dispatched to “make sure that this man was OK.” Mr Dia, 26, leaves behind a wife and a two-year-old child, the chief said.
Toledo resident Shalene Houke fought back sobs as she told The Toledo Blade she heard the officer asking for help and saying he'd been shot before losing consciousness.
“He was young, and he was scared,” she said.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said he was at Toledo Hospital ,where Mr Dia was taken after the shooting.
“I will never forget the sight of Officer Dia being wheeled out of the hospital on a gurney, his body wrapped in an American flag, flanked by about 30 Toledo police officers, saluting and weeping,” the mayor said.
Neither Mr Kral nor Mr Kapszukiewicz took questions during the news conference. More information was expected to be provided at another news conference Monday.
Governor Mike DeWine expressed his condolences and said he had ordered flags in Lucas County and at the Ohio Statehouse to fly at half-staff from Sunday through the officer's funeral service.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement that his “heart breaks” for the family of the officer.
“Officer Dia lost his life doing what police do during every watch of their lives — trying to help someone,” he said.
“His memory will stand tall forever, a man who was fulfilling his duty in his final act.”
With Associated Press.
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