Posted on July 30, 2014 at 10:10 PM
Wednesday, Jul 30 at 10:12 PM
(ABCNews)-- The manhunt is on today in West St. Paul, Minnesota, for a man who shot a police officer to death during a routine traffic stop.
Authorities identified the officer as Scott Patrick, 47. Patrick had been with the Mendota Heights Police Department since 1995.
"We heard the shots and saw the cop lying there," Ryan Carpentier told the Star-Tribune newspaper. "He was completely motionless."
Patrick had a wife and two teenage children. He was the first officer from the Mendota Heights Police Department to be killed in the line of duty.
Mayor Sandra Krebsbach said Patrick was the department's "most senior officer."
The suspect was identified as Brian Fitch Sr., 39, of South St. Paul. He was driving a green Pontiac Grand Am, authorities said.
Police said they'd launched a dragnet, searching for the green Pontiac sedan that witnesses said they saw racing from the scene.
Law enforcement was seen searching door to door with automatic rifles drawn.
The fatal shooting is the latest in a surge of violence against police -- more than 70 officers have died this year. Police killings by firearms are up 65 percent this year after a historic low in 2013.
Two officers today were wounded in a shooting at a North Carolina trailer park during a domestic dispute. In Newark, New Jersey, today, an officer was shot as he interrupted an armed robbery. And on Tuesday, three officers were shot in New York in a daytime shootout while trying to arrest a fugitive.
ABC News' Pierre Thomas and Jack Date contributed to this story.