Struck by grief, friends and family are fondly remembering the lives of two police officers who were murdered in two separate ambush-style attacks in Des Moines, Iowa.
On Nov. 2, 46-year-old Scott Michael Greene allegedly approached the vehicle of 24-year-old Urbandale Police officer Justin Martin and fired between 15 and 30 shots into the driver’s side. Around 20 minutes later, Greene allegedly gunned down 38-year-old Des Moines police Sgt. Anthony Beminio, who was responding to the shooting of Martin.
Green was taken into custody on Nov. 3 after investigators found his car near the crime scenes and a .223 caliber rifle concealed in bushes. He is being treated in a hospital for a pre-existing ailment, NBC News reports.
“What happened yesterday was calculated murder of two law enforcement officers,” said Police Chief Dana Wingert. “Plain and simple, that’s the reality.”
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Wingert said the homicides were “cowardly in every sense of the word, from the way it was carried out to the way it ended.”
Martin had aspired to become a police officer since he was in middle school and realized his dream in January, when he was sworn in by the Urbandale Police.
“He was somebody that was all about helping people,” Randy Martin, Justin’s father, told USA Today. “He want into law enforcement for one reason -- because he wanted to help people.”
“He wanted nothing more in life than to be a police officer, and that’s what happened,” said 21-year-old Alex Kerr, a former classmate who had attended criminal justice classes with Martin at Simpson College in Indanola, Iowa.
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Beminio had served with the Des Moines Police Department for 11 years, after working as a school resource at local high schools.
Steve Foritano, a former Polk County prosecutor who had worked with Beminio on previous court cases, recalled his professionalism and genial demeanor.
“He was a great detective, very thorough,” Foritano said. “He was well-respected. He was just very professional, very up-front.”
Like Martin, Beminio had also attended Simpson College and graduated in 2001 with a degree in criminal justice. Lora Friedrich, his former professor of sociology, recalled him as a great family man and law enforcement officer.
“I love him, and we have stayed close over the years ... He was a great dad and a perfect cop,” Friedrich said. “He never met a stranger or a foe.”
Beminio is survived by his wife and three children.
Hours before allegedly murdering both Martin and Beminio, Greene had been ordered by a judge to move out of his mother’s home in Des Moines, Fox News reports.
According to court documents, the judge ruled that Greene had been abusing his mother, Patricia Greene, through physically hitting her and exploiting her financially.
Greene was employed briefly for a construction company in October only to abruptly quit after being disciplined for disregarding directions and refusing to work.
On Oct. 14, Greene was physically removed from an Urbandale High School football game after he antagonized black attendees with a Confederate flag. One week later, he returned to another football game to repeat the same harassment of black attendees.
Video of the incident became viral on YouTube. In the comment section, Greene wrote that he was protesting against African Americans for being “cop haters.”
Greene is expected to be charged with two counts of first-degree murder.