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Police say 1 officer fatally shot, 1 hurt in Tenn.

Posted: December 14, 2012 7:00 p.m.
Updated: December 14, 2012 7:00 p.m.

Mourners gather at the Regional Medical Center after a police officer was fatally shot and another wounded during a shootout Friday in Memphis, Tenn.

 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Memphis police officer was fatally shot and another wounded during a shootout at a home Friday, authorities said.

Officers with the organized crime unit entered a home in east Memphis to serve a drug-related search warrant Friday morning, Police Director Toney Armstrong said. A suspect fired numerous shots, striking officers Martoiya Lang and William Vrooman, he said.

Armstrong said officers returned fire, striking a suspect.

Lang, 32 and a mother of four, died of her injuries, Armstrong said. Vrooman, who was struck multiple times, was in stable condition at the Regional Medical Center.

The nature of the officers' wounds was not released. No further details of the shooting were released because of the ongoing investigation.

The 21-year-old suspect also was hospitalized in critical condition, police said. A 26-year-old man who was in the home was in custody, but no charges were immediately filed.

Lang and Vrooman, 32, were the 10th and 11th police officers to be shot while on duty since Armstrong took over the department in April 2011. Lang was the second officer to die.

The shooting was a reminder that police officers put their lives in danger every day they are on duty, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said.

"Through it all, we appreciate deeply, beyond measure — words can't express the sacrifice they make for our city," Wharton told reporters outside the hospital.

Flags will be flown at half-staff in the city to honor Lang. She had been with the department since June 2003, Armstrong said.

"She was a friend, a family member," he said.

More than a dozen officers gathered outside the hospital. One woman was seen crying loudly and being led into the hospital. Armstrong was visibly shaken as he and Wharton spoke with reporters.

Wharton said the shooting reflects a national problem, where too many criminals have too many guns.

"Nobody has a Second Amendment right to load up and kill a police officer," he said.

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