07/18/2008

Breaking news: Fla. officer, suspect killed

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Officer Down: Officer Andrew Widman

The Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A former missionary turned police officer was shot and killed along with a suspect after police were called to a disturbance outside a downtown nightclub early Friday.

Rookie officer Andrew Widman, 30, was shot in the face at close range after he stepped in to break up a dispute between a man and a woman at about 2 a.m., police Maj. Doug Baker said.

The suspect, who has not yet been named, ran from the scene while firing at other officers, Baker said. Four officers returned fire, killing the suspect.

Witnesses told police that before Widman arrived at the scene, the suspect said "he was going to go out Miami-style, and he was going to take one of our officers with him," Baker said at a news conference.

Baker said the suspect had addresses in the Fort Myers area and in Naples to the south, but he didn't know where the man had been living.

Widman, who had previously done missionary work, had been with the police department since April 2007, Baker said. He was married, with three children between the ages of 2 and 5. Details of his missionary work weren't immediately available.

"He was a good guy," Baker said. "He'll be missed by his peers."

Mayor Jim Humphrey said it was "one of the saddest days in the life of this city."

Several downtown streets were blocked off as detectives investigated throughout the morning.

"A piece of America died today," said Fort Myers city councilman Johnny Streets, a former police officer. "A piece was plucked out of the flag."

Streets told The (Fort Myers) News-Press that the last time the department lost an officer to a shooting was in 1924.

Read NBC2 news coverage of this developing news story here

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