PARKLAND, Wash. —A gunman burst into a coffeehouse Sunday and opened fire on four police officers as they sat working on their laptops, killing the three men and one woman in what an official described as a targeted ambush.
Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said officers were looking for one male suspect who fled the scene and haven't ruled out an accomplice, possibly a getaway driver.
It wasn't clear whether the officers 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.
Troyer said the 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. Sunday.
Troyer said the attack was clearly targeted at the officers, not a robbery gone bad.
"There were marked patrol cars outside and they were all in uniform," Troyer said.
With no known suspects, there was no indication of any connection with the Halloween night shooting of a Seattle police officer. The suspect in that shooting remains hospitalized.
"We won't know if it's a copycat effect or what it was until we get the case solved," Troyer said. "We don't even have a suspect ID right now."
Troyer would not release the names of the victims in Sunday's shooting. He said Lakewood has a small police force and that the deaths represent a loss of 10 percent to 15 percent of the department.
"We have no motive at all," Troyer said. "I don't think when we find out what it is, it will be anything that makes any sense or be worth it."
Two employees and a few other customers were in the shop during the attack. All are being interviewed by the Pierce County 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 officers killed Sunday were a patrol squad made up of three officers and their sergeant. No threats had been made against them or other officers in the region, sheriff's officials said. Their families have been notified.
"We lost people we care about. We're working to find out who did this and deal with him," Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor told reporters at the scene.
Associated Press Writer Rachel La Corte in Olympia and Photographer Ted S. Warren in Parkland contributed to this report.