The most recent shooting involves the death of two cops at a fugitive’s house in St. Petersburg, Florida. A United States Marshal was wounded as well.
Fox News reports, “Florida officers Tom Baitinger and Jeffrey Yaslowitz were killed Monday when agents tried to arrest 39-year old Hydra Lacy Jr. on an aggravated battery charge. Police believe Lacy opened fire on the agents, also injuring an U.S. marshal.”
Hours before that, an officer was critically injured in Oregon after being shot multiple times during a traffic stop. That gunman is still on the loose following the incident on Monday. He reportedly led the police on a chase before ultimately escaping by foot. Police have described the gunman as armed and extremely dangerous.
In Indianapolis, a police officer was critically wounded during a traffic stop as well. Police have identified the gunman as Thomas Hardy, 60. Hardy shot officer David Moore in the face twice, as well as in his chest and leg.
Four other officers in Detroit were injured after a gunman opened fire on a precinct. The gunman has been identified as 38-year-old Lamar D. Moore, who was fatally shot during the incident.
Two more officers were injured during a shootout in a Walmart parking lot in Washington. Police are in the process of investigating what prompted the shooter to run from deputies and open fire in the parking lot, which ultimately led to the death of the gunman and the woman accompanying him.
Police were called to Walmart to investigate a suspicious person. When they arrived, the man ran and opened fire on the officers.
According to Roberts, the shootings, though unconnected, have a single commonality. “There seems to be a type of criminal out there looking to thwart authority.”
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund — an organization that tracks police casualties — notes that there have been almost as many officer deaths in January 2011 as there were in January 2010, and 2010 showed a 43-percent increase in police deaths over 2009.
Cops face danger on a regular basis, particularly as police officers are sometimes targeted by gang members for the purposes of initiation. Americans for Legal Immigration reported in 2009 that a South Carolina law-enforcement officer was targeted by illegal Hispanics as a gang initiation. “Interrogation of the suspects indicate that the attempted murder of South Carolina deputy was a gang initiation. Lexington County Sheriff Deputy Ted Xanthakis and his K-9 police dog partner were attacked by three illegal aliens with a shotgun but survived on February 8, 2009.”
Likewise, today’s hip hop music genre often maligns police officers as villainous and encourages violent acts against law enforcement agents. Famed rapper Kanye West, for example, says in his 2004 hit “All Falls Down,” “F$#k the police, that’s how I treat them.”
Old-school hip hop artists like KRS One, NWA, Eazy-E, and Ice T have all produced anti-cop music like "Cop Killa" and "Sound of Da Police." What’s worse is that the music videos accompanying these songs often depict police officers engaging in violent and unprovoked behavior that helps to incite hatred against police officers.
Whether the recent wave of police shootings is related to gang initiations or anti-police rhetoric is unknown. For now, cops are being encouraged to be particularly cautious as authorities continue to investigate the incidents.