In Iowa, prayers for police officers ambushed and killed

Des Moines police officers secure the crime scene where a Des Moines police officer was shot and killed in his squad car overnight on November 2 2016 in Des Moines Iowa Credit Steve Pope Getty Images CNA2 Police officers secure the crime scene where a Des Moines police officer was shot and killed in his squad car overnight on Nov. 2, 2016, Iowa. | Steve Pope/Getty Images.

In the wake of fatal shootings of two Iowa police officers in apparent ambushes, Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines offered prayers for the victims' families and colleagues.

After the shootings, Bishop Pates said the Catholic community "extends heartfelt prayer and sympathy to the families and friends of the two police officers who were killed in the line of duty this morning."

Bishop Pates voiced condolences to the police chiefs and police forces of Des Moines and Urbandale.

"We stand in solidarity with you," he said Nov. 2.

Two police officers in the Des Moines area were shot and killed in separate incidents early Wednesday, the Des Moines Register reports. It appeared they were taken by surprise and had no chance to defend themselves.

Urbandale Officer Justin Martin and Des Moines police Sgt. Anthony Beminio were named as the gunman's victims.

The gunman appeared to have walked up to Martin's patrol car and fired 15 to 30 shots into the driver's side of the car just after 1 a.m., killing the officer. Less than 30 minutes later and two miles away, Beminio was shot while responding to the scene of Martin's shooting. Beminio later passed away at a hospital.

One man, Scott Michael Greene, 46, has been arrested on suspicion of the killings. He was arrested about 35 miles from the shootings after he flagged a state employee and asked the employee to call 911.

Bishop Pates described the shootings as a "painful moment" that calls for a full investigation, a just response, and a continuing conversation among the entire community about resolving conflict.

"Among the concerns, one that has been highlighted by police and those protecting us as needing to be firmly addressed, is the widespread proliferation of guns which makes such violence possible in the first place," he said.

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