- The Washington Times - Monday, December 29, 2014

A North Carolina police chief reminded residents during a remembrance ceremony Sunday that “all lives matter,” after a Durham police officer what shot at in an ambush attack by two black men.

Officer J.T. West was sitting in his marked patrol car in the area of Lakeland Street and Truman Street about 10 p.m. Thursday when he saw two suspicious men approaching his vehicle from behind, police said.

As Officer West exited his vehicle to speak to the men, one of them pulled a handgun from his waistband and opened fire, a local CBS affiliate reported. Six shots were fired at the officer, who fired two rounds in return, police said, adding that no words were exchanged between the men.

Officer West was able to take cover behind a staircase across the street. He was later treated and released from a local hospital. Both suspects got away, with police unsure if either of them were hit from the officer’s gunfire.

The man who fired the gun was described as a black male, 18 to 25 years old, wearing an oversized black hoodie. The second suspect was described as a black male of the same age, wearing a light-colored jacket.

The shooting comes after New York City police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were fatally shot in an ambush-style attack as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, said in a social media post that he wanted revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner — two black men who died at the hands of white police officers.

SEE ALSO: Two sheriff’s deputies shot at in Florida: ‘The pendulum has swung against law enforcement’

The remembrance ceremony in Raleigh Sunday recognized local law enforcement and honored Liu and Ramos for their service.

“As I stand before you today, I can say that black lives do matter,” Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said at the event held at First Baptist Church. “And as I stand before you in this Raleigh police uniform that I put on every day with pride, I must say that blue lives do matter. But as I close, I must say that we as a community must begin to recognize that all lives matter.

“I think it’s important that we’re all vigilant, not just about what’s going on in New York, but we had officers shot at in Durham over the weekend,” she added. “That’s the reality of where we are.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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