By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - A Denver police officer was in critical but stable condition after he was shot multiple times during a traffic stop on Tuesday on the city's northwest side that also left a suspect wounded and put area schools on lockdown, authorities said.
Denver Police Chief Robert White told reporters that the officer exchanged gunfire with at least one of the suspects after pulling over a vehicle shortly before 11:30 a.m. local time.
White said that one suspect, who had an apparent gun shot wound to the leg, was arrested and a search was underway for possibly two other suspects believed to have fled the area.
The wounded officer, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, was rushed to Denver Health Medical Center, where he underwent surgery, emergency department physician Christopher Colwell told reporters.
Colwell said the officer, identified by police as Antonio Lopez, was undergoing surgery for his injuries and was expected to live.
White said detectives are investigating whether the gun battle stemmed from an attempted bank robbery and carjacking that occurred earlier Tuesday morning less than a mile from the shooting scene.
White added that the wounded officer was likely unaware of the earlier incidents when he made the traffic stop.
Several schools in the area were on lockdown while officers comb the neighborhood looking for the other suspects, police said.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle and Bernard Orr in New York)