Topeka Police Chief Ronald Miller called the shootings of Cpl. David Gogian and Officer Jeff Atherly "unspeakable." He said both Gogian, 50, and Atherly, 29, were shot in the head by a gunman who opened fire on them within minutes of their arrival to investigate the vehicle.
Police said they are searching for a 22-year-old man believed to have been the one who fired on the officers. He remained at large Sunday night.
A third officer was at the scene when the shooting happened, but was not injured.
Miller said there was more than one person in the vehicle that police were investigating. Officers later found the vehicle outside a house about 10 blocks from the grocery store, but when they searched the home they didn't find the shooting suspect.
The chief declined to say why officers were investigating the vehicle and why it was considered suspicious.
A small crowd met for a candlelight vigil outside police headquarters after hearing about the shooting. As the group gathered, police officials announced to reporters nearby that the officers had died.
Gogian started with the Topeka Police Department in September 2004. Atherly had been with the department since April 2011.