4 Ala. cops wounded in fatal shootout with double homicide suspect
The four officers are expected to recover, officials said
By Carol Robinson
BIRMINGHAM — The suspect in a Sunday morning shooting that left two people dead near a Southside park shot four Birmingham police officers before they returned fire, killing him, authorities said.
The four officers – all members of the department’s tactical team – are expected to recover. Two were shot, and two were grazed, said Sgt. Rod Mauldin. The slain suspect, an adult, white male, has not been publicly identified.
The ordeal began at 6:30 a.m. when South Precinct officers responded to Brother Bryan Park at 10th Avenue South and Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard.
Mauldin said investigators received information that an argument took place moments before the shooting. The victims were approached by a male and a verbal altercation occurred. According to witness accounts, a dog was mentioned during the argument. The victims were walking a dog at the time of the incident.
Investigators have established the suspect and the female victim were in a dating relationship. The suspect fled the scene prior to officer’s arrival.
The male victim was pronounced dead on the sidewalk. Observers said he was a transient that frequented the area.
The female was found in the middle of the street with a gunshot wound to the head. She was taken to UAB Hospital, where she was pronounced dead before noon.
Onlookers said the male and female usually had a dog with them. Mauldin said he didn’t know if the dog had been found.
Police fanned out in search of the suspected shooter – described as wearing a red shirt and overalls - as well as additional evidence, including video surveillance from nearby businesses.
Mauldin said witnesses to the double killing, as well as other investigative work, led them to Stratford Apartments at 1010 18th Street South. One resident said they were evacuated, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether the evacuation took place before or after the gunfire erupted.
The SWAT team - shortly after 1 p.m. - was brought to the scene to carry out the search warrant on the suspect’s third-floor apartment. “Upon making entry, they were immediately met by gunfire,’' Mauldin said. They returned fire, striking the suspect about 1:20 p.m..
The officers were transported to UAB hospital by co-workers, according to Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service. The shooting site was just blocks away from UAB’s emergency room.
Two of the officers, Mauldin said, were shot in “lower extremities.” By Sunday night, both had been treated and released.
The two officers who were grazed by the gunfire were treated on the scene by Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service.
The investigation has been turned over to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s SBI, which is standard practice for officer-involved shootings.
The fatal shooting of the suspect marked the city’s fifth homicide since Saturday morning. Mauldin said officers and investigators are patrolling areas known to be hot spots for violence, and deploying extra resources to those areas.
“The biggest thing is we’re urging people if you know something is going on,” Mauldin said, “go ahead and call us before these things escalate.”
Birmingham city councilors immediately reacted to the shooting.
“We are calling on all of our residents to take a stand against these hostile acts,” said Council President William Parker. “This senseless violence must stop. We are continuing to monitor this situation closely, and we are wishing all of the officers involved a speedy recovery.”
“The events that unfolded today exemplify the risks that the men and women of the Birmingham Police Department assume every day,” said Public Safety Chairman Hunter Williams. “Now more than ever, we need to rally around our department and officers, who are putting their lives on the line in what is often a thankless job to protect the citizens of Birmingham. I am extremely grateful that the officers will survive their injuries, and hope the community will continue to support them—and all our officers.”
“These officers make sacrifices and put their lives at risk to keep us safe,” said Council Pro Tem Wardine Alexander. “We are so grateful for the job that they do. We are going to continue to lift them up in our thoughts and prayers.”
The deadly shooting is Birmingham’s 45th homicide so far this year. Of those, three have been ruled justifiable and therefore aren’t deemed criminal. In all of Jefferson County there have been 87 homicides including the 45 in Birmingham.
Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 205-254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.
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