DES MOINES, Wash. (AP) _ A police officer was shot and killed early Wednesday after stopping four teen-agers walking along a highway, police said.

The suspects, believed to range in age from 15 to 18, remained at large, Police Sgt. Steve Wieland said. The search for them involved officers from jurisdictions extending from Tacoma to Seattle, he said.

No weapon was found, and Wieland said he didn't know if any bullet casings were recovered.

The 33-year-old officer, a veteran of six years on the force, apparently stopped the pedestrians about 5 miles south of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He told a dispatcher by radio that he recognized one of them from an earlier felony case, Wieland said.

A second officer arrived shortly afterward and found the officer by the road.

The wounded officer, who was married and had a 2-year-old child, died at a hospital, police said.

Authorities did not immediately identify the dead officer or disclose the nature of the earlier felony case.