A three-state manhunt for the shooter in a fatal ambush attack on a state highway patrol barracks near Scranton, Pa., Friday night, underscores a rise in the number of surprise attacks on U.S. police officers in the past few years, reports the Christian Science Monitor. One trooper was killed and another injured after someone opened fire just outside the barracks gates during a shift change. State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said the attack appeared to be solely directed at police. The National Law Enforcement Officers Fund, which tallies officers killed on duty, began sounding an alarm four years ago about a rise in the number of ambush attacks on police.
A series of high-profile “movie-style” ambushes targeted members of the justice system in 2013, when a judge, prosecutor, and prison warden were gunned down in planned attacks. Last week, Merrillville, In., officer Nickolaus Schultz was shot and killed in an apparent ambush attack by a man who subsequently killed himself. A USA Today review in 2011 showed that nearly 40 percent of officer deaths were from ambush attacks, up from 31 percent two years earlier. The number of ambush shootings of police today is down significantly from the 1970s, when attacks spiked in an era where there was generally less respect for police officers.