A New Orleans Police officer was shot to death on patrol early Friday in New Orleans East, according to authorities. 

The man suspected of killing him was wounded and taken to the hospital for treatment, Chief Michael Harrison and Mayor Mitch Landrieu said during an overnight news conference.

The slain officer was identified as 29-year-old Marcus McNeil, who as of March was assigned to a task force in the 7th Police District, which patrols New Orleans East. 

McNeil's accused killer has only been described as a 30-year-old man.

"This hurts," Harrison said. "I can't begin to tell you how much this hurts. I've had to console our officers ... tonight and this family because we're all grieving."

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Landrieu added, "These are the worst kind of days for the city."

According to Harrison, four of his officers were on patrol near the intersection of Tara Lane and Lake Forest Boulevard about 12:15 a.m. when they spotted something they considered suspicious. Harrison didn't immediately elaborate on what they saw or whether the patrol involved use of a marked or unmarked cruiser. 

As the officers stepped out of the vehicle, a man opened fire at them, Harrison said, striking one of the officers multiple times. At least one of the officers returned fire and apparently struck the attacker.

Paramedics took McNeil to University Medical Center, and he died there, Harrison said.

Meanwhile, the attacker apparently hid in a nearby apartment before surrendering. Harrison didn't describe where that apartment was, but a large number of law enforcement officers had gathered near the Cypress Parc Apartments in the 6800 block of Cindy Drive after the shooting.

A woman, identifying herself as a resident there, said one building with about four apartments was evacuated as police appeared to be searching for a suspect. NOPD officers at the scene were joined by members of Louisiana State Police as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Harrison and Landrieu both said they met with the family of the slain officer at the hospital early Friday.

"We're all grieving," Harrison said. 

Landrieu added, "Our worst nightmares have come to be."  

Friday marked the fifth time a New Orleans police officer was killed in the line of duty in the last four years.

Officer Natasha Hunter died after a suspected drunk driver struck her while she was in her cruiser diverting traffic from a crash scene on Interstate 10 in June 2016. 

Officer Vernell Brown was killed after being struck by a car while investigating a vehicle fire on Pontchartrain Expressway in July 2015. In June 2015, Officer Daryle Holloway was fatally shot while transporting an inmate.  

In July 2013, Officer Rodney Thomas was killed by a hit-and-run driver after he got out of his car to investigate a crash on the I-10 high rise. 

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.