"We believe that the officers were definitely targeted", Guglielmi told The Associated Press. "It's a miracle they are coming back home, and we're praying for their quick recovery", said Rafael Yanez, Immaculate Conception Church. Guglielmi described their conditions as serious.
Johnson, speaking during a news conference about two hours after the shooting, said there was an "extensive manhunt" underway.
According to News Affairs, the officers were performing a follow-up investigation on a previous incident at about 9 p.m. when two vehicles pulled up and occupants "began firing indiscriminately in the direction of the officers". It declined to offer details on the nature of the case the officers were working on.
Johnson added the police had located a vehicle they think could be involved in the shooting of the two officers and "several weapons". Authorities say weapons were recovered, some persons of interest are being questioned, and they have promising leads on the assailants.
Fraternal Order of Police president, Kevin Graham, briefly addressed reporters saying he had spoken with the officers and their families.
Johnson noted that the area where the shooting took place had been troubled by gun activity.
"Listen, if they will fire at police officers like that, they have no thought process in terms of firing at other citizens of this great city".
Witnesses stated that they believe as many as 30 shots were fired by the suspects, who possibly shot at the officers with an assault rifle.
Police said the shooting happened in the gang territory of the Saints. The second was shot in the back.
The two officers have not been identified.
The police investigation includes "expediting processing of ballistic evidence and gun traces", Guglielmi said.
The attack occurred after the officers saw someone inside a silver van shooting at another vehicle, according to preliminary information from police.