Two police officers have been killed and five injured after a man allegedly opened fire on them as they tried to investigate a domestic violence complaint.
A police dog – K9 Drago – was also killed in the shoot-out, which lasted for hours, according to John Hunt, sheriff of Floyd County, a rural area in the US state of Kentucky.
“They had no chance,” he said of the officers, adding that they had encountered “pure hell” when they arrived on the scene.
Mr Hunt said that four deputies had gone to the house to serve a court-issued warrant on Thursday.
After being fired at, they had called for help.
State police arrived and the man surrendered after his family were involved in negotiations.
Mr Hunt said that one of his deputies William Petry was killed, alongside Prestonsburg Police Captain Ralph Frasure, a 39-year law enforcement veteran.
Another Prestonsburg officer, Jacob Chaffins, is in hospital, while the other officers injured have not been publicly named.
Lance Storz, 49, was arrested late on Thursday and appeared in court on Friday morning, pleading not guilty to two counts of murdering a police officer.
He also faces another attempted murder charge and a charge of assaulting a service animal.
Court papers say that Storz used a rifle to fire multiple rounds at officers at his home on Main Street in the town of Allen.
‘Unimaginable heroism and sacrifice’
Attorney General Daniel Cameron said on social media that he is “heartbroken to learn of the deaths of two law enforcement officers”.
“Our law enforcement exhibited unimaginable heroism and sacrifice last night in the face of evil,” he added.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said on social media: “Floyd County and our brave first responders suffered a tragic loss last night.
“I want to ask all of Kentucky to join me in praying for this community.
“This is a tough morning for our commonwealth.”