TACOMA, Wash.: A gunman burst into a coffeehouse today and opened fire on four police officers as they sat working on their laptops, killing the three men and one woman in what one official described as a targeted ambush.
Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said officers are looking for one male who fled on foot, but haven't ruled out an accomplice.
Troyer said the four dead officers all from the Lakewood Police Department were catching up on paperwork at the beginning of their shifts when they were attacked at 8:15 a.m.
Troyer said the attack was clearly targeted at the officers and was not a robbery gone bad.
''There were marked patrol cars outside and they were all in uniform,'' Troyer said.
Troyer would not release the names of the victims.
It wasn't clear whether the officers even had time to draw their weapons to return fire, Troyer said.
''This was more of an execution. Walk in with the specific mindset to shoot police officers,'' Troyer said.
There were two employees and a few other customers in the shop. All are being interviewed by sheriff's investigators.
''Some are in shock. They are very upset,'' Troyer said. ''They are the ones who are going to put together for us how this happened.''
The Forza Coffee Shop, part of a popular local chain, is on a side street near McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, about 35 miles south of Seattle. The shop is in a small retail center alongside two restaurants, a cigar store and a nail salon.
Brad Carpenter, founder and owner of Forza Coffee, said that his staff was unharmed and being interviewed by police, and his main concern was the families of the police officers. ''I'm a retired police officer, so this really hits close to home for me,'' he said.