Policeman, Gunman Die in Poughkeepsie Shooting

Law enforcement officers stand outside the Poughkeepsie rail station in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Feb. 18, 2011. AP Photo/Mike Groll

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - A police officer died hours after being shot in the head Friday during an exchange of gunfire that killed a man who fatally shot a woman near a train station, authorities said.

Poughkeepsie Police Chief Ron Knapp released a statement saying the 44-year-old officer died at about 9:05 p.m.

The name of the officer, an 18-year veteran, was withheld out of respect for the family and pending notification of his relatives.

The gunman shot a woman to death in a car hours earlier, then was himself fatally shot minutes later in the struggle with police, including an officer who had taken a 3-year-old from the man and handed the child to a bystander, police said.

Knapp said it appeared the gunman shot the officer, but it wasn't immediately clear whether he was then killed by police gunfire or if he shot himself. Police didn't say whether the wounded officer was the one who'd taken the child from the man.

Knapp said he believes the man and woman who were killed were husband and wife and weren't from Poughkeepsie, a city of about 30,000 people about 70 miles south of Albany in New York's Hudson Valley. Their names have not been released.

A second officer suffered minor injuries and a half dozen others were involved, Knapp said.

Officers responded to a report of gunfire at about 1 p.m. and one saw the man leaving the scene with a child in his arms and thought the man had been involved.

When the officer tried to confront him, the man ran away, Knapp said. The officer caught the man, took the child from him and handed the toddler to a bystander. It was during that second confrontation that the 44-year-old officer was shot.

Officials said they didn't know whether the child, who was unhurt and taken by police, is a boy or girl.

Mayor John Tkazyik called it a tragic day for the city.

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