1 Mo. officer killed, 2 others wounded in shooting; suspect dead

The suspect stole a patrol car before an exchange of gunfire, police said

Duty Death: Benjamin Cooper - [Joplin, Missouri]

End of Service: 03/08/2022


By Associated Press

JOPLIN, Mo. —  In the wake of shootings that left one police officer dead and two others badly wounded, the mayor of Joplin urged residents Wednesday to pull together, just as they did 11 years ago when a massive tornado devastated the southwestern Missouri city.

The officer who was killed Tuesday was Cpl. Benjamin Cooper, a husband and father of two, Joplin Police Chief Sloan Rowland said at a news conference. He had been with the department since 2003.

Hundreds of emergency personnel and community members gather Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at a vigil at Cunningham Park in Joplin, Mo.
Hundreds of emergency personnel and community members gather Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at a vigil at Cunningham Park in Joplin, Mo. (Roger Nomer/The Joplin Globe via AP)

Another officer was hospitalized in critical condition and a third was in serious condition. Their names have not been released.

The suspected shooter, who died in the exchange of gunfire with police, was identified as 40-year-old Anthony Felix. No further information about Felix was released.

An emotional Mayor Ryan Stanley urged Joplin's 50,000 residents to come together behind the slain and injured officers and their families.

“Please be present, show up, engage, and let the nation and world see, just like after our tornado, how we respond to tragedy as a community. We know how to pull together in love," Stanley said.

An EF-5 tornado tore through Joplin on May 22, 2011, destroying hundreds of homes, leveling a hospital, and killing about 160 people, and the community came together to recover and rebuild.

Authorities said more information about the shooting was expected to be released later Wednesday, but Stanley said it began as a “routine" case.

“It makes you really try to appreciate, try to respect, try to understand what our brave men and women have to do every day as they respond to the normal, and then not knowing what will happen," Stanley said.

The officers responded to a disturbance about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday outside a store at the Northpark Crossing shopping center. Shots were exchanged and two officers were wounded.

The suspect stole a police car and fled, police said, before wrecking the car and fleeing on foot. Officers chased him to a street near an apartment complex and residential area in central Joplin, where another officer and the suspect were shot. Police have not specified which officer shot Felix.

Assistant Police Chief Brian Lewis said another scene was involved in the investigation, but he did not provide additional details.

Kim Jenkins, who lives near where the third officer and the suspect were shot, said she saw a man with a gun behind a fence across the street from her home, The Joplin Globe reported.

She said the officer drove down the street and stopped in front of a van the suspect was hiding behind. That’s when the suspect fired at the officer, apparently shooting him through the windshield of his patrol car.

“I don’t think he even had time to get out when the guy started shooting,” Jenkins said.

Several other officers arrived and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was hit by gunfire, she said.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is assisting with the investigation.

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