Two MPD Officers Shot, One Killed, in East Memphis

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Officer Martoiya Lang was shot and killed in the line of duty this morning.
  • Officer Martoiya Lang was shot and killed in the line of duty this morning.
At 8 a.m. this morning, two Memphis police officers were shot while serving a search warrant for narcotics at an East Memphis home. One officer, Martoiya Lang, 32 years old and a mother of four, was killed. The other officer, William Vrooman, also 32, is in stable condition at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis (MED).

"Officers assigned to the Organized Crime Unit were executing a search warrant for narcotics at 1062 Mendenhall Cove," Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said at a press conference outside the MED this morning. "After forcing entry into the home, they encountered a suspect who fired numerous shots at officers, striking two of our officers. Officers did return fire, striking the suspect."

It was originally reported that the suspect was fifteen years old. A statement from the MPD reports the suspect is actually 21 years old and is in critical condition at the MED. Armstrong would not confirm the name of the suspect. No charges have been filed at this time.

Officer Lang has been with the city since June of 2003, and with the Organized Crime Unit since June of 2011. Vrooman has been with the city since July of 2007, and with Organized Crime since August of this year. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds but is being listed as in stable condition.

"We're asking that the city continue to keep her and her family in their prayers," Armstrong said. "This is a constant reminder of what police work is all about. So often we get side-tracked with other things that go on — when we have an officer go out and do something inappropriate — but at the end of the day you have officers like this one who leave their small kids at home and come and put it all on the line."

Mayor A C Wharton added that this incident underlines the need for the city's initiative to reduce gun violence.

"This is why we're going all over the country to find the best methods we can to get the guns out of the hands of the wrong people," Wharton said. "I dare anybody to come up and say this is a Second Amendment right. Nobody has a Second Amendment right to load up and kill a police officer. We're going to redouble our efforts on this."

Mayor Wharton has ordered that flags be flown at half mast today out of respect for the slain officer and the city's collective mourning.

UPDATE (4 p.m.): Officer Vrooman has been released from the MED. He was shot in the leg. Officer Lang was shot in the torso. The search warrant was being served on a 26-year-old man in the home, and he has been arrested. The 21-year-old shooter had no prior charges. The suspects names have not been released because no charges have been filed yet.

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