Two undercover deputies were shot at Thursday night, apparently after two men "made them" as law enforcement and followed them for a confrontation in suburban West Palm Beach.
The two detectives were at the Stop N Go at the intersection of Belvedere and Drexel roads about 8:40 p.m. when the suspects in a 1999 tan-colored Lincoln Continental spotted them working on a laptop, sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera said. They followed the officers who were working an unrelated robbery case.
"They clearly knew we were law enforcement," Barbera said. "The suspects shot at them, attempted to ambush and kill them."
When the detectives had traveled to the area of Wynnedale Drive and Wynnedale Circle near the store, they realized they were being followed, she said. The detectives started to leave, but the suspects fired at least two shots, hitting the windshield of the unmarked vehicle, she said.
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The detectives were not hurt and they did not fire back.
Dean Urbaniak, who lives near the Stop N Go on Drexel Road, said tonight's crime was "scary" happening just two houses away. He said he didn't consider his neighborhood dangerous.
"To have a shooting like that with no regard for bystanders, let alone a police officer, makes me think about where I'm living at," he said.
Although tensions are high after two Miami-Dade police officers were killed during a warrant serving Thursday morning, Barbera said the Palm Beach County incident was "apples and oranges."
The sheriff's helicopter was circling the area, and there was a widespread search going on for the suspects. A vehicle believed to be the one the shooters were driving was recovered late Thuirsday west of the crime scene, Barbera said.
A command center was set up at the Stop N Go and several Belvedere intersections also blocked by patrol cars.