Police Captain Robert David Melton was killed by a fleeing suspect in Kansas City, Kansas, on Tuesday afternoon, with the officer reportedly being attacked while responding to a drive-by shooting in the city.
Melton’s death sent shockwaves through the Kansas City community on Tuesday, an area where another officer had been killed just a few weeks ago under similar circumstances.
Tuesday’s incident started with a call for shots being fired, KMBC reported. Officers arrived on the scene within five minutes and several people jumped out of a car to flee. Melton arrived on the scene a few minutes later and was chasing a fleeing suspect when a suspect fired shots at the officer.
Melton was struck and taken to a nearby hospital, where he died at close to 3 p.m., KMBC reported.
Police took three people into custody after the shooting, but have not yet named the suspects or said if the suspect responsible for the shooting was in custody. Reports from local media indicate that police, at one point, were searching for a fourth suspect, but that they later stopped the efforts.
KCK police captain Dave Melton has been identified as the police officer killed. pic.twitter.com/PSVVJWmeMr— KCTV5 - Kansas City (@KCTV5) July 19, 2016
As KMBC reported, Robert David Melton, who went by Dave, had a long history of working in law enforcement in the area.
“Melton had been with the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department since late 1999. He previous worked as a deputy at the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office for nine years. He was a graduate of Kansas City, Kansas, Community College and served in Afghanistan as a member of the Kansas National Guard.”
Melton’s murder came after two high-profile tragedies involving police officers just within the past two weeks. On July 7, a lone gunman opened fire on police officers during a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, Texas. Five officers were killed in the attack, and several others seriously injured before police eventually killed the suspect using explosives delivered by a bomb-detonating robot.
Another attack came on Sunday when gunman Gavin Long allegedly ambushed police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, killing three.
The shootings were allegedly both in response to high-profile police killings of black men in incidents that took place in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul. The incidents — along with the police shootings that followed — have heightened racial tensions nationwide.
But Tuesday’s shooting in Kansas City, Kansas, does not appear to have political undertones or to be a planned attack on police officers, but rather a more random incident.
This is also the second Kansas City, Kansas, police officer to be killed in the line of duty in the last two months. In May, Detective Brad Lancaster was shot and killed by a man police identified as Curtis Ayers, who then led police on a wild chase. As NBC News reported, the suspect fled the scene in the detective’s unmarked police vehicle after the shooting and later carjacked another vehicle.
And in another strange twist, the shooter from Sunday’s ambush of officers in Baton Rouge was from nearby Kansas City, Missouri.
The killing of Robert David Melton brought condolences from across the country, with local and Kansas state officials remembering him as a dedicated public servant.
“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all in the law enforcement community and share in Kansas City’s sorrow,” said Kansas Attorney Gen. Derek Schmidt. “My prayers and deepest sympathies remain with the men and women of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department and all officers who protect and serve with honor, and with the family and friends of Capt. Melton.”
Many people in Kansas City have also been mourning the death of police captain Robert David Melton, with mourners coming to lay flowers at the scene of his killing and police in uniform paying tribute at the hospital where he died.
[Photo by Orlin Wagner/AP Images]