2 Kissimmee police officers die in shooting involving military veteran

Department mourns death of Sgt. Richard "Sam" Howard and Officer Matthew Baxter

By Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer, Ian Margol - Reporter, Andrew Perez - Reporter

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Two police officers died after a U.S. Marine -- who is not in active in duty -- shot them Friday night in Kissimmee, according to the Kissimmee Police Department.

Chief Jeff O'Dell identified the two killed as Sgt. Richard "Sam" Howard and Officer Matthew Baxter. Both of them were fathers. 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he was "heartbroken." President Donald Trump tweeted a message to the Kissimmee Police Department early Saturday morning. 

"My thoughts and prayers are with the Kissimmee Police and their loved ones," Trump said. "We are with you."

Howard and Baxter, who were both wearing their uniforms, were shot about 9:30 p.m. in a neighborhood known for having drug activity, O'Dell said. Both officers were taken to Osceola Regional Hospital where doctors pronounced Baxter dead Friday night and Howard dead Saturday.

Everett Miller is accused of shooting at police officers Friday night in Kissimmee.

Four suspects were in custody early Saturday morning, O'Dell said. Detectives arrested Everett Glenn Miller, a 45-year-old military veteran with a history of mental health issues, at the Roscoe's Bar at 2344 N. Orange Blossom Trail. Police officers said he was in possession of a 9 mm and a .22 revolver. 

O'Dell said officers used Baxter's handcuffs to take Miller to the Osceola County Jail. Prosecutors charged Miller with first-degree murder, resisting arrest without violence and carrying a weapon to an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages, records show. 

"I am so proud of the sworn and civilian members of our department by acting quickly to identify the suspect and bring him to justice," O'Dell said. "We will mourn over the next few days."

Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins Jr. said the last Kissimmee police officer who was killed on duty was in 1983. 

"Heartbreaking loss of two of Kissimmee's finest officers," Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs tweeted. "Please join in prayers for families, friends and law enforcement."

Police officers and deputies from St. Cloud, Orlando, Orange County and Florida Highway Patrol troopers were assisting the Kissimmee Police Department. Law enforcement agencies nationwide expressed their support on social media. 

The City of Kissimmee set up a "City of Kissimmee – Officer Matthew Baxter and Sergeant Sam Howard" SunTrust bank account to facilitate donations to the families of the fallen officers starting Monday.  

 

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