A routine sweep for drugs and weapons on an Amtrak train left two dead and two injured after federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) opened fire on passengers.
In Arizona, the encounter began after agents from the DEA and the Tucson Police Department boarded the train, officials said. A DEA agent and the suspected shooter were killed, while another DEA agent and a Tucson police officer were injured.
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said officers from the regional task force were in the middle of detaining a man on the upper level of the double-decker train when a second man pulled out a handcuff and began firing.
After firing several rounds with the police, the gunman barricaded himself in a bathroom on the lower level, where he was later found dead. The second passenger was arrested, but it was not clear whether he had any connection with the dead shooter.
The second DEA agent was in critical condition, while the Tucson police officer, who ran from the platform to the train after the shot began, remained motionless.
Dramatic video footage of the attack was captured on live webcams around the train station. In one, a law enforcement officer with a canine unit can be seen running towards the car. Then he can be seen getting fired from the bullets as he approaches the train.
Another video showed at least a dozen shots being fired as two officers on stage leaned behind a box for cover.
Passengers and employees escaped from Sunset Limited Train 2 after shots were fired at around 8 a.m. local time on Monday. The train stopped in Tucson at around 7.40 a.m. while traveling from New Orleans to Los Angeles. Evan Courtney was in a lounge car when people suddenly came running shouting: “Fire you!”
“I grabbed my backpack and ran,” Mr Courtney said via Twitter direct messaging.
He clashed with other passengers while several tactical police officers with assault rifles were behind the barricades. After 15 minutes, “the police ran up to us and told us to get out of the car and run in the opposite direction.”
Mr Magnus said there were about a dozen passengers in the car at the time of the shooting, while an Amtrak spokesman said the train had a total of 137 passengers and 11 crew.
“It is horrific and we all agree what a terrible loss this is,” Mr. Magnus said. “But I also want to consider the truly heroic actions of the officers at the scene. They literally ran towards danger, in the car, where an active shooting situation was going on. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Arizona