Missouri officer, three others fatally shot at gas station, suspect also dead

The two officers who first responded to the scene were "immediately fired upon by the suspect," police said.
Image:  Five people were killed, including a police officer, after a shooter opened fire at a convenience store overnight in Missouri.
Five people were killed, including a police officer, after a shooter opened fire at a convenience store overnight in Missouri.KYTV

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

A Missouri police officer was among four people killed by a gunman at a gas station late Sunday, police said.

The gunman, identified as Joaquin S. Roman, 31, also died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a statement from the Springfield Police Department.

The department received calls about three shootings within a five-mile radius starting at 11:24 p.m. The last reports came from Kum & Go gas station, about 20 minutes later.

"Callers reported a vehicle crashing at the scene and an armed suspect entering the store and shooting customers and employees," the statement said.

Officer Josiah Overton and Officer Christopher Walsh were the first on the scene and "were immediately fired upon by the suspect," police said.

Walsh, who had served with the department for more than three years, and was an Army veteran and active reservist, died from his wounds at the hospital. Overton, who has been with the department for two years, suffered non-life threatening injuries and was hospitalized.

Officers who reached the scene after the two shot officers helped to remove them from the scene, found three other people dead, one other victim wounded and the suspect dead. The wounded victim was also hospitalized.

Police Chief Paul Williams said during a news conference Monday that investigators believe the suspect was a "roaming active shooter" who was responsible for the shots fired at all three locations. He said a motive had not been determined.

Williams fought back tears as he announced Walsh's passing. When asked how the department was coping, he said: "It is way too early. I’ll just leave it at that. We’re still actively investigating multiple crime scenes and dealing with grieving of the loss of one of our own."

A later statement from the department said officers had "heavy hearts" following the "tragic situation."

"Both of these officers showed significant bravery and were heroic in their actions," police said. "We ask for your thoughts and prayers for the officers’ families and the members of the Springfield Police Department.