Florida police officer, two others shot dead

Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:26pm EDT

(Reuters) - A central Florida police officer was shot and killed early on Saturday and two pedestrians he had tried to stop for questioning apparently committed suicide, law enforcement officials said.

Robert German, an officer in Windermere, southwest of Orlando, had called for backup after seeing what he described as two suspicious individuals walking on a roadway at about 4 a.m. local time, said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found German, 31, fatally wounded.

A man and woman believed to be the pedestrians German had encountered were found dead nearby and it was likely they had killed themselves, Demings told a press conference. They were not identified.

An investigation into the "senseless tragedy" is ongoing, said Windermere Police Chief David Ogden.

"Officer German was a good cop," the chief said, adding the officer had been with the department five years and recently returned to duty after recovering from an unspecified injury.