Two Police Officers Killed in Shooting During Traffic Stop in Syracuse Suburb

Two police officers fatally shot during a traffic stop in Salina, NY. The suspect, armed with an illegal AR-15 rifle, ambushed and killed the officers before being shot dead. The tragic incident has deeply impacted the community.

Wojciech Zylm
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Two Police Officers Killed in Shooting During Traffic Stop in Syracuse Suburb

Two Police Officers Killed in Shooting During Traffic Stop in Syracuse Suburb

Two law enforcement officers were fatally shot during a traffic stop investigation in Salina, a suburb of Syracuse, New York, on Sunday evening. Syracuse Police Officer Michael Jensen and Onondaga County Sheriff's Lieutenant Michael Hoosock were killed in an exchange of gunfire with the suspect, who was also killed at the scene.

The incident began when Syracuse police officers attempted to pull over a vehicle for a traffic violation, but the driver fled. The officers tracked the vehicle to a residence in Liverpool, where they saw what they believed to be firearms inside the vehicle. When the officers approached the house, they heard the sound of a gun being readied to fire.

Lt. Hoosock, a 16-year veteran of the sheriff's office and volunteer firefighter, was ambushed and fatally shot by the suspect, identified as 33-year-old Christopher Murphy, who was armed with an AR-15 rifle used in the shooting that killed two officers. Murphy then ran to the front of the house and shot Officer Jensen, striking him in an area not protected by his vest. The officers returned fire, killing Murphy.

Investigators found several other weapons, including rifles and a crossbow, at Murphy's residence. The AR-15 rifle used in the shooting was largely banned under the NY SAFE Act, though some were legally grandfathered in. However, the magazine on Murphy's rifle was determined to be illegal, as it held 40 rounds, four times the legal limit in New York.

Why this matters: The shooting marks the first time a law enforcement officer has been killed in the line of duty in Syracuse in over 30 years and the first time an Onondaga County sheriff's deputy has been killed in two decades. The incident has deeply impacted the community and sparked discussions about the increasing dangers faced by law enforcement officers.

Syracuse Police Officer Michael Jensen was described as a standout police officer who was always positive and engaged with the community. Jensen, a native of Rome, New York, had been with the Syracuse Police Department for about three years and was named Officer of the Month in December 2023. Lt. Hoosock was remembered as a dedicated public servant and a well-liked member of his community.

Governor Kathy Hochul expressed her condolences, calling the killings "senseless" and stating that the officers dedicated their lives to protecting and serving their communities." Flags have been ordered to be flown at half-staff in honor of the fallen officers. The Onondaga County District Attorney's Office is working with the New York State Attorney General's Office to investigate the incident and determine the motive behind the attack.

Key Takeaways

  • 2 officers fatally shot during traffic stop in Salina, NY; suspect also killed
  • Suspect used AR-15 rifle with illegal high-capacity magazine in attack
  • Incident marks first officer deaths in Syracuse and Onondaga County in decades
  • Slain officers were praised as dedicated public servants and community members
  • Investigation ongoing to determine motive behind the attack