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Pennsylvania officer shot in the head responding to hit-and-run

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A police officer was shot in the head and killed while pursuing a hit-and-run driver in a Philadelphia suburb on Thursday, a day before his 35th birthday, officials said.

Brad Fox, an Iraq war veteran, is the first police officer in Plymouth Township, Pa., to be killed in the line of duty. 

Authorities say Fox was shot in the head during the pursuit. "There are just no words that can begin to express the magnitude of this tragedy, " said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman at a Thursday night press conference.

"I think we're all in shock. This is the very first time that the Plymouth Township Police Department has had to deal with an officer killed in the line of duty," said Ferman.

Authorities say Fox had a little girl, and his wife is pregnant with their second child.

"Officer Fox served two tours of duty in Iraq. He put his life on the line day in and day out. Men around him lost their lives. He was able to come back from that service, come back to the comfort of his country and to lose his life so senselessly today. There are just no words to explain how horrific it is, how senseless it is," Ferman said.

Fox had been with the Plymouth Township police department for seven years, said Chief Joseph Lawrence, who called the officer a "hero." He had just graduated from the Philadelphia K-9 school.

His fellow officers gathered outside the emergency room Thursday night as Fox's body was transported to the Medical Examiner's Office.

Authorities have confirmed that the suspect was also shot and killed. "There is no gunman out on the street. There is no imminent danger to anyone out there," Ferman said.

Fox's K-9 officer was also shot, but authorities say the dog, Nick, survived.

The district attorney did not release any further information about the exact circumstances leading up to Fox being shot. Ferman said the investigation is ongoing.

Joseph Kaczmarek / AP

Police gather to salute slain Plymouth Township officer Brad Fox, on Sept. 13, at Montgomery Hospital in Norristown, Pa.

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