COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) 08/02 — A Colorado Springs police officer was critically wounded in an early morning street shootout Thursday, and authorities asked the public for any information about the shooting suspect, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Officer Cem Duzel was among several officers who responded to a call about shots fired east of downtown, not far from the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Police Chief Pete Carey said. They found an armed suspect, gunfire was exchanged and Duzel was wounded, Carey told reporters at the hospital where Duzel was being treated.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office identified the suspect as Karrar Noaman Al Khammasi, 31. He, too, was hospitalized but was expected to recover.
The sheriff’s office asked anyone with information about Al Khammasi to contact authorities. It said charges were pending.
“This has been an extremely difficult year with law enforcement, officers being hurt or killed, in particular in our region,” Carey said. “Please keep Officer Duzel, his family and the Colorado Springs police department in your thoughts and prayers.”
Three law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in Colorado over a five-week stretch starting on New Year’s Eve. El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy Micah Flick was fatally shot in Colorado Springs on Feb. 5 — the last in the string of deaths.
Investigators said a suspected car thief fired a semi-automatic handgun, killing Flick, after the deputy and other officers confronted him in an apartment complex parking lot. The suspect, Manuel Zetina, 19, also was killed.
Duzel has been a police officer in Colorado Springs for five years. In 2015, he and other officers were in the news for helping rescue a bear cub who managed to get her head stuck in a plastic bottle. KRDO-TV reported that they were not able to remove the bottle but managed to get the bear in a patrol car and take her to a wildlife officer.
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