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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans police officer was fatally shot on Friday, ambushed as he and his patrol team stepped out of their car to investigate something suspicious shortly after midnight. Other officers returned fire, wounding a suspect who eventually surrendered to a SWAT team, police said.
"Our officer collapsed right there on the scene" and died at a hospital, Police Superintendent Michael Harrison told reporters at an early morning news conference.
"They were on routine patrol," he said. "They saw something that aroused their suspicion. They were exiting the vehicle and upon exiting the vehicle, what we have learned is that this perpetrator fired at our officer, striking our officer."
The wounded suspect, a man about 30 years old, fled into an apartment, which was surrounded by a SWAT team. Police negotiators eventually persuaded him to give up. "There was a peaceful surrender after long negotiations," Harrison said.
The suspect was taken to a hospital with several gunshot wounds, he said.
The slain officer was Marcus McNeil, 29, a three-year veteran survived by a wife and two children, ages 5 and 2, police said.
"We are all grieving," Harrison told reporters. "Our department is grieving, our city is grieving and this family is grieving so we ask the city to pray for us."
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told reporters that many officers "knew this officer really, really well, and the entire department when this happens is in trauma, and of course it strikes at the heart of the city."
"We talk to these officers at their graduation and of course we say this all the time about how dangerous this job really is, and unfortunately tonight our worst nightmares have come to be," Landrieu said.
At this stage in the investigation, police believe there was only one gunman involved, Harrison said. Police didn't immediately identify the officer or the suspected gunman.