US police ‘shot dead in ambush’ in Washington state

Four police officers have been shot dead in an ambush at a coffee shop in Washington State, police say.

Officials quoted by local media said at least one gunman walked into the coffee shop in Parkland, near the McChord Air Force Base, and opened fire.

A sheriff’s spokesman said the officers had been targeted and it was not believed to have been a robbery.

Other customers were in the coffee shop at the time but no-one else was injured, KOMO-TV reported.

Parkland is in Pierce County, 40 miles south of Seattle.

Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told local media that the officers had been working on their laptops in the coffee shop when the shooting happened on Sunday morning.

“It was just a flat out ambush,” he said.

First reports said there had been two gunmen but Mr Troyer told the BBC he now believed there was only one, although the situation was still unclear.

Mr Troyer said the families of the four officers were being informed.

Theron Zahn, of KOMO-TV, told the BBC that a huge police operation was under way and that the nearby air force base was effectively “locked down”.

“There are hundreds upon hundreds of police officers converging on the area,” he said.

“Police helicopters are in the air using their infra-red cameras for anyone who may be hiding nearby. It is a massive manhunt.”

Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the gunmen, KOMO-TV reported.

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