Two police officers were killed and five wounded after a man opened fire on them as they tried to investigate a report of domestic violence.
A police dog – K9 Drago – was also killed in the shooting, 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 four officers went home Thursday to serve a court-issued warrant.
After being shot, they called for help.
The state police arrived and the man gave up after his family was involved in the negotiations.
Mr. Hunt said one of his deputies William Petry was killed, along with Prestonsburg police captain Ralph Frasure, a 39-year-old law enforcement veteran.
Another Prestonsburg officer, Jacob Chaffins, is in hospital, while the other wounded officers have not been publicly named.
Lance Storz, 49, was arrested late Thursday and appeared in court on Friday morning, pleading not guilty to two counts of murdering a police officer.
He also faces another charge of attempted murder and the charge of assaulting a service animal.
Court documents claim that Storz used a rifle to fire multiple rounds at officers at his Main Street home in the town of Allen.
“Unimaginable heroism and sacrifice”
Attorney General Daniel Cameron said on social media that he was “heartbroken to learn of the deaths of two law enforcement officers”.
“Last night our law enforcement officers showed unimaginable heroism and sacrifice in the face of evil,” he added.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said on social media, “Floyd County and our brave rescuers suffered a tragic loss last night.
“I want to ask all of Kentucky to join me in praying for this community.
“This is a difficult morning for our Commonwealth.”