(Reuters) - A Mississippi policeman who worked in an anti-narcotics squad was killed on Saturday and three state troopers were wounded in a shootout with a suspect during a standoff in the northeastern corner of the state, according to local officials.
The suspect was also killed in the exchange early Saturday morning in a rural area of Tishomingo County near Iuka, about 118 miles east of Memphis, Tennessee, according to County Coroner Mack Wilemon.
State narcotics bureau officer Lee Tartt, 44, of Grenada, was killed, Wilemon said. A married father of two and a 22-year law enforcement veteran, he had won a Bureau of Narcotics agent of the year award in 2011 and a 2012 award for valor, according to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS), which includes the narcotics bureau. Tartt made an unsuccessful run for Grenada County sheriff last year.
The suspect killed was Charles Lee Lambert, 45, Wilemon said. The three other officers were hospitalized and their conditions were not immediately known, Wilemon said.
In a statement on Saturday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant asked residents to pray for Tartt’s family.
“This is a tragic reminder that their willingness to serve can exact the highest price,” Bryant said, referring to the state’s law enforcement officers.
The department’s Facebook page displayed a sign of mourning, showing a black silhouette of the state crossed by an indigo blue band.
Tartt’s death follows other shootings of police officers in Mississippi in the past year, including two Hattiesburg officers killed last May, and a Clarksdale officer shot in the head and left in critical condition after responding to a robbery this month.
Saturday’s shooting developed out of a domestic situation in a home late on Friday afternoon, according to a DPS statement.
Lambert, his wife, and 10-year-old daughter were in the house when deputies arrived, and he refused to comply with Tishomingo County Sheriff’s officers orders to come out, DPS said.
Officers from the state’s Highway Patrol, Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Narcotics came to help the sheriff’s office. After six hours of negotiations, tactical teams entered the home, meeting Lambert, who was armed with a high-powered rifle, DPS said.
In an exchange of fire, Lambert, Tartt and three state troopers were shot. The woman and the child were rescued safely from the house, the DPS said.
It was the first time that a Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agent was killed in the line of duty since 1998.
Reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago; Editing by Nerys Avery and Chizu Nomiyama