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Court worker serving an eviction notice and an officer were fatally shot in Missouri, police say

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — A court employee and a police officer were fatally shot Thursday after the court process server tried to serve an eviction notice at a home in Missouri, authorities said.

A second officer was critically injured, but is expected to survive, police said.

Independence Police Chief Adam Dustman said Thursday afternoon at a news conference outside Centerpoint Medical Center that two of his police officers were met with gunfire while coming to the aid of Drexel Mack, the man who had been trying to serve the eviction notice.

Mack, or another civil process server also at the home, had called 911 saying Mack had been shot, Dustman said. The officers responded at about 1:10 p.m. and approached Mack to help him when someone shot at them, he said.

“I’m very tragically sorry to report that we lost one of our own," Dustman said, identifying the officer as Cody Allen, 35.

The second officer, whose name wasn’t released, underwent surgery and is expected to recover, Dustman said. A third officer also “took gunshot rounds” and had minor injuries, the police chief said.

Dustman called Allen a hero and described the police department as a “broken family,” over Allen's death.

“He always had a smile,” Dustman said.

A man suspected in the shooting was in custody and sustained minor injuries, Corporal Justin Ewing with Missouri State Highway Patrol said during an earlier news conference.

Independence Police Department spokesperson Officer Jack Taylor said no details were immediately available about what exactly happened before the shootings began.

Mack, who was in his early 40s, had worked for Jackson County for over a decade, officials said.

“We are devastated that a court employee, who is a public servant, was shot by a member of the public while performing their job,” Presiding Judge Jalilah Otto said in a statement. “Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts are with our employee, our entire Court family, and the Independence Police Department.”

More than a dozen officers lined up outside the hospital late Thursday afternoon to escort the bodies of the slain to the medical examiner’s office. People hugged and consoled each other after the procession left.

Helicopter video from KMBC-TV earlier in the day showed emergency vehicles converged around a large, isolated house in the middle of a field. The area was a mixture of woods and farmland with a smattering of houses on multi-acre lots. A church was mixed in among the homes.

Kansas City Police Capt. Jake Becchina said in an email that tactical operations at the house ended by about 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Officers searched the property to ensure the safety of investigators and other community members and found no one else inside the residence, he said.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is leading an investigation.

Independence is a suburb of Kansas City, with about 122,000 residents.

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Associated Press reporters Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, Josh Funk in Omaha, Nebraska, and Steve Karnowski in St. Paul, Minnesota, contributed to this story.

Heather Hollingsworth, The Associated Press