Three police officers were killed and a fourth injured on Saturday near the capital of Puerto Rico, following a kidnapping, authorities said.
Agent Jose Catalano said that two of the dead officers shot him and ran over the third.
The accident occurred in the popular tourist hub of Isla Verde on one of the busiest highways in the US near the island’s main international airport, causing severe traffic congestion.
It was the first time in recent history that so many Puerto Rican police officers had been killed in one accident.
“I’ve never had a scene like this before,” said Captain Jose Gonzalez.
Catalano said that the man allegedly responsible for the deaths remained at large, although the authorities had confiscated his car. He said he had no further details right away.
A high-ranking official who was not authorized to speak to the media said the suspect was involved in a car theft in North Carolina, where he stole a car from a woman and then opened fire on the officers when he was arrested. Verde Island after a long hunt. Catalano earlier said it was a routine traffic stop.
The names of the officers were not disclosed. Catalano said two were municipal employees and the third was a state officer.
An FBI spokeswoman, Lemari Cruz, told the Associated Press that the agency had been cooperating with local police, but had no plans at this time to look into the case.
Governor Pedro Pierluese, who was sworn in earlier this month, said he visited the wounded officer in the hospital and expressed regret over the deaths of the other three.
“These loss of life must stop now,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “There will be an investigation to determine the culprits, and they will be prosecuted to the maximum extent permitted by law.