New Orleans police officials are hunting for the suspect who shot and killed a Housing Authority officer as he sat in his patrol car Sunday.

Officer Garry Flot, a department spokesman, says the officer was working overtime to guard a public housing construction site.

Flot says the officer's body was found about 7:10 a.m. Sunday, after housing authority police radioed a call saying an officer had been shot. He says the patrol car apparently rolled one to two blocks before hitting a curb and stopping.

New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu publicly called the shooting “a vile and cowardly act.”

“Tragedies that involve our men and women in uniform affect our entire city and touch every member of our law enforcement community,” he said in a public statement released on Sunday. “We are deeply saddened by this loss, and our hearts and prayers are with the officer's friends and family and with the entire HANO [Housing Authority of New Orleans] family during this very difficult time.

"NOPD and HANO will work very closely to identify and arrest those responsible for this heinous assault.”

Housing Authority Police Chief Robert Anderson says the officer's name has not been released because his family has not been notified.

Investigators do not yet know why or exactly when the 45-year-old housing authority police officer, who had been with the department since 2013, was killed according to a report from Sky News.

"We've never had an on-duty death in the department's history," Housing Authority Police Chief Robert Anderson said.

The immediate area where the officer was shot isn't populated, which may leave investigators short of witnesses.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.