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    Saturday, March 21, 2009

    CNN - Three police officers dead in Oakland shootings

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    Three police officers dead in Oakland shootings

    Three police officers in Oakland, California, were shot and killed Saturday afternoon after a man pulled over for a routine traffic stop opened fire, police said.

    The man, a 27-year-old Oakland resident, was later fatally shot in a gun battle with SWAT officers in a nearby apartment complex where he hid.

    A fourth officer -- also shot -- remained in critical condition, police said at a late-night news conference.

    Authorities discovered the alleged gunman, 27-year-old LaVelle Mixon, had an extensive criminal history. At the time of the shooting, he was in violation of parole for assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

    The incident began about 1 p.m. (4 p.m. ET) in east Oakland when two motorcycle officers tried to pull over a car for a "fairly, routine traffic stop," said Dave Kozicki, the deputy police chief.

    Immediately afterward, emergency call dispatchers received reports that two officers were down at the scene and needed attention. They had been shot, Kozicki said.

    A manhunt was under way for the shooter when an anonymous caller directed authorities to a building on an adjacent street where the gunman was believed to be barricaded, said acting Police Chief Howard Jordan.

    The gunman opened fire on SWAT officers who entered the apartment, hitting two more officers before police returned fire, killing the suspect, Jordan said.

    California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said flags at the capitol will fly at half-staff to honor the fallen officers.

    "This is a tragic day for law enforcement officers everywhere," he said in a statement. "All four officers dedicated their lives to public safety and selflessly worked to protect the people of Oakland."

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