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BREAKING NEWS: Police officer in Clinton motorcade killed in crash

February 22, 2008 |  8:46 am

A police officer in Hillary Clinton's motorcade was killed this morning in a motorcycle accident in Dallas on the way to a campaign rally, the New York senator said.

"We are just heartsick over this," Clinton told reporters, including our colleague Michael Finnegan, part of the traveling press entourage. Clinton did not provide the officer's name but offered her "deepest condolences to the family and to the Dallas Police Department on this tragic, tragic loss."

"This reminds us once again what our men and women in law enforcement do every single day, and it is important that we respect and appreciate their service," she said.

Clinton flew to Dallas this morning from Austin, where she had debated her Democratic rival Barack Obama the night before. The accident occurred as her motorcade was going from the airport to the parking lot, where she addressed about 1,000 supporters.

(UPDATE: Finnegan reports that Clinton canceled a later rally in Fort Worth, and that the Dallas rally ...

went on before Clinton knew about the death.

"Because of this tragedy, I know you understand that we can't have a rally," Clinton told several hundred supporters who had been waving blue "Clinton for President" signs outside an ornate courthouse in downtown Fort Worth. "It would be inappropriate for me to take this opportunity, as I had planned to be with you, to talk about the election."

Clinton said she had spoken with the Dallas police chief and offered her condolences. From Fort Worth she headed back to Dallas to visit the officer's family at a hospital.

(UPDATE II: Our colleague Maria L. La Ganga, traveling with the Obama press entourage, reports that Obama noted the offier's death at an afternoon rally in Corpus Christi. He told the crowd of about 6,500 at American Bank Center Arena that he had "a bit of bad news" and then he explained how the Secret Service and local law enforcement officers work together to run motorcades and ease traffic for presidential candidates navigating strange cities.

"Yesterday one of the members of Sen. Clinton’s detail got in an accident and passed away," Obama said, mistaking the date. "He had actually helped me when we were in Dallas. His name was Victor Lozada-Tirado. So if everybody would just observe a brief moment of silence for him and his family, let him know that our thoughts and prayers are with them."

-- Scott Martelle