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Suspect in Texas police officer shooting 'was angry about child custody battle'

Published 22/11/2016

Flowers, balloons and notes are placed at a makeshift memorial for San Antonio police officer Benjamin Marconi (AP)
Flowers, balloons and notes are placed at a makeshift memorial for San Antonio police officer Benjamin Marconi (AP)
Otis Tyrone McKane, who was arrested after a manhunt for a suspect in the fatal shooting of a veteran Texas police detective (San Antonio Police Department/AP)

The suspect arrested over the fatal shooting of a Texas police detective has said he was angry about a child custody battle and "lashed out at somebody who didn't deserve it".

Otis Tyrone McKane was being led by officers to Bexar County Jail when he told reporters he was angry with the court system for not letting him see his son, and took it out on Detective Benjamin Marconi.

"I've been through several custody battles, and I was upset at the situation I was in, and I lashed out at someone who didn't deserve it," McKane said. He said he wanted to apologise to Mr Marconi's family.

McKane, 31, was arrested on a capital murder charge on Monday afternoon.

The detective was shot as he sat in his squad car on Sunday after making a traffic stop in San Antonio. Authorities have said a gunman walked up to Mr Marconi's window and fired.

It was one of several attacks against law enforcement in multiple states over the weekend.

The San Antonio detective and officers shot in Missouri and Florida were conducting routine tasks on Sunday when they were targeted. Mr Marconi was writing a traffic ticket.

"I think the uniform was the target and the first person that happened along was the first person that (the suspect) targeted," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said.

In Missouri, a St Louis police sergeant was shot twice in the face as he sat in traffic in a marked police vehicle. He was released from hospital on Monday.

Police say there has been an alarming spike in ambush-style attacks. Sixty officers, including Mr Marconi, have been shot dead on the job this year, compared with 41 in all of 2015, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Of the 60 killed, 20 were purposely targeted by their assailant compared with eight last year, the group said.

Police officers were also shot and injured during traffic stops in Sanibel, Florida, and Gladstone, Missouri, on Sunday night, but authorities have not suggested those were targeted attacks.

All the shootings come less than five months after a black military veteran killed five white officers at a protest in Dallas - the deadliest day for American law enforcement since September 11,2001.

Race was a factor in the Dallas shootings, but police have not said if race played a part in any of the attacks on Sunday.

In San Antonio, the suspect is black and the officer was white. In St Louis, the suspect was black, but police have not released the officer's race.

Most killings of police officers are carried out by white men, and most people shot and killed by police are white, said Craig W Floyd, president of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Mr McManus said McKane was arrested on a capital murder warrant without incident after the car he was riding in was stopped on Monday afternoon.

Surveillance video shows the suspect at San Antonio police headquarters about four hours before 50-year-old Mr Marconi, a 20-year veteran of the force, was shot. The suspect asked a desk clerk a question but left before receiving an answer, said Mr McManus, who declined to say what the man asked.

"I don't know why he was in headquarters. We have some ideas," he said.

St Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson declined to name the 46-year-old officer who was shot and wounded there. He said the officer is a married father of three and has been with the department for about 20 years.

"This officer was driving down the road and was ambushed by an individual who pointed a gun at him from inside of his car and shot out the police officer's window," Mr Dotson said.

The suspect, 19-year-old George P Bush III, was wanted for questioning in recent violent crimes that included several robberies, a carjacking and perhaps a killing, Mr Dotson said.

"We believe he knew he was good for those crimes and that we were looking for him," Mr Dotson said. "That's why he aggressively attacked a police officer."

Police said Bush was later killed in a shootout with officers.

AP

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