NEW ORLEANS -- A New Orleans police officer was fatally shot on Friday, ambushed as he and his patrol team left their cars to investigate something suspicious shortly after midnight. Other officers returned fire, wounding a suspect who eventually surrendered to a SWAT team, police said.

"Our officer collapsed right there on the scene" and died at a hospital, Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said.

"They were on routine patrol," he said. "They saw something that aroused their suspicion. They were exiting the vehicle, and ... this perpetrator fired at our officer."

He said one or more officers fired back, and Darren Bridges, a 30-year-old felon, was hit several times. He fled into an apartment, which was surrounded by a SWAT team, and police negotiators eventually persuaded him to give up without another shot.

"Our officers showed great restraint, great courage, great professionalism, even during a time of great mourning and grief. I am very proud of them," Harrison said at an afternoon news conference.

Bridges will face charges including first-degree murder in the death of Marcus McNeil, 29, a three-year veteran survived by a wife and two children, ages 5 and 2, Harrison said.

McNeil was a 2010 graduate of Dillard University, where he had majored in accounting. He graduated in 2006 from St. Augustine High School, a Catholic school in the city, officials from the schools said.

"He was well-liked, well-loved by his colleagues. They are grieving and mourning," Harrison said. "From all indications, he loved doing his job, loved the New Orleans Police Department and loved working in east New Orleans."

McNeil was the fifth New Orleans Police Department officer to die in the line of duty over the past four years. Two were shot and three hit by cars.

A police officer for the city's public housing agency also was shot to death during that period.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, "We talk to these officers at their graduation and of course we say this all the time about how dangerous this job really is, and unfortunately tonight our worst nightmares have come to be."