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Policeman shot dead, 2 others injured in 'ambush' at US night club

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

A US policeman has been fatally shot and two others wounded in what has been described as an “ambush.”

The shooting occurred early Saturday morning outside a nightclub in Houston, Texas, where the three policemen were addressing "a disturbance" that "may have been a robbery," Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief James Jones said during a press conference.

They were identified as Kareem Atkins, 30, who died of his injuries, and Darrell Garrett, 38, who was shot in the back and hospitalized at an ICU. The third one, who rushed to the scene after the shooting and was subsequently shot, was identified as Juqaim Barthen, 26.

“We hope to have a suspect in custody soon and I hope for swift and quick justice for that individual because he ambushed my deputies,” Constable for Precinct 4 Mark Herman said, describing the incident as “probably one of the toughest things I’ve done in my career."

‘Policing harder than it has ever been’

US President Joe Biden was speaking later in the day at the 40th annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in Washington, where he called policing “harder than it has ever been.”

“I’ve been coming to this memorial for 40 years, missed a couple, and I’ve spoken to too many police memorials around the country, and it always amazes me how the public doesn’t fully understand what we expect of our law enforcement officers,” said the Democratic leader. “We expect you to be people ready to stand in the way and take a bullet for us. We expect you to be able to track down the bad guys. We expect you to be able to be the psychologist who talks the couple that are having a violent confrontation together to step back… We expect you to be everything. We expect everything of you, and it’s beyond the capacity of anyone to meet the tall expectations.”

The US president suggested that action needs to be taken to reform policing in America.

“We’re waking up to the notion that unless we can change the environment in which the job can be done, we’re going to have trouble having enough women and men come forward who want to do the job,” said Biden, who ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in recognition of Saturday’s event.

The United States has frequently been gripped by protests and chaos amid the nation’s long-time struggle to fight police brutality and systemic racism.

Racial discrimination against people of color, compounded last year by the brutal murder of African American George Floyd in the US police custody in Minneapolis, has a history of nearly 400 years in the United States.

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