Undated handout photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of PC Fiona Bone (left), aged 32, and PC Nicola Hughes (right), aged 23 who was killed in the line of duty while attending a "routine incident" in Manchester England Tuesday Sept. 18, 2012 . (AP Photo/Greater Manchester Police)
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LONDON (AP) — Two unarmed female police officers were fatally wounded Tuesday as they attempted to deal with an apparently routine call about a burglary, Greater Manchester Police said.
Chief Constable Peter Fahy told a news conference that Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, died shortly after a gunman opened fire and also set off a grenade in Tameside, Greater Manchester, in northwest England.
He said that Dale Cregan, 29, the focus of an intense police manhunt as a suspect in two murders last month, surrendered at a police station shortly after the incident, and was booked on suspicion of murder.
Fahy said that Cregan, or an associate, had telephoned police reporting a burglary Tuesday morning, and the two officers responded. "When they arrived, it appears then that Cregan emerged into the road and killed these two officers," he said.
Fahy said the motive was "impossible to fathom."
Warren Shepherd, a window cleaner, told reporters at the scene in that he "heard gunshots — bang, bang, bang — around 10 of them, then a pause and a big explosion."
Cregan had been sought following the grenade and gunshot killing of David Short, 46, on Aug. 10 and the shooting death of his son, Mark Short, 23, on May 25.
The death of a female officer on duty is a rare occurrence in Britain, where most officers do not carry firearms.
Prime Minister David Cameron describes the shootings as "a shocking reminder of the debt we owe to those who put themselves in danger to keep us safe and secure."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.