UPDATE: The U.S. Marshals Service originally said that a deputy U.S. Marshal had died, but new information indicates he is still in critical condition.
A suspect who allegedly told law enforcement officers in Missouri that he was “only going out in a body bag” was killed after a shootout with law enforcement officers that left one deputy U.S. Marshal critically injured, and another deputy U.S. Marshal and a police officer wounded.
A law enforcement official told TPM that one deputy U.S. Marshal from the Eastern District of Missouri involved in a shooting this morning at a residence in St. Louis was critically wounded. Local reports said he was shot in the head. The law enforcement official said two U.S. Marshals and one task force officer from the Eastern District of Missouri were involved in the shooting.
The Associated Press reports that the man holed up inside the house was apparently shot and wounded by police, according to a woman who described herself as his sister.
ABC News radio affiliate KTRS reported that the suspect told authorities that he was “only going out in a body bag” when they arrived at his home.
The shooting came less than a month after the death of 24-year-old Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller, who was the first deputy U.S. Marshal to die in the line of duty from gunfire since 1992, when William Degan was killed at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
As the Washington Post’s Jerry Markon points out, the shootings “come amid a broadening federal role in fighting violent crime that was once left mainly to state authorities, investigators have said.”
Federal-state task forces on violent crime have multiplied since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., bringing federal agents in closer contact with dangerous criminals. And the government says it is pouring resources into fighting drug trafficking and other crimes along the border with Mexico.
Overall, deaths of officers in the line of duty are rising nationwide. About 160 died in 2010, a nearly 40 percent increase from the year before, according to the D.C.-based National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The organization, which tracks law enforcement deaths, said 61 officers were killed by gunfire in 2010, up from 40 in 2008.
[Ed. note: this story has been updated.]