Police Chief Alan Watson said patrol officers stopped a white pickup truck on Roosevelt Avenue just before noon. The driver of the vehicle opened fire on police, who then returned fire. The driver was hit one time in an area in his right rear torso.
A passenger bailed out of the vehicle and fled the scene after the exchange of gunfire. The truck eventually struck another vehicle before hitting a guard rail on the 275 Bypass. It then caught fire.
The driver was pulled out of the wreckage by one of the officers.
Watson said investigators were not even able to identify the driver until Saturday evening. He declined to release the victim’s identity until formal charges were filed.
Meanwhile, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation is looking into the officer’s conduct in this case, Watson said. Both officers involved in the incident are currently on paid administrative leave pending the completion of the ABI investigation. This is the standard procedure, he added.
The driver’s gun was recovered at the scene, and was also sent to the ABI. Watson added the police car cameras had captured the entire sequence of events, and thus he did not expect the ABI investigation to take very long.
“I’m hoping for a preliminary report by the end of this week,” he added.
ABI spokeswoman Doris Teague said Monday she could only confirm that there was an ongoing investigation, but could not elaborate.
As in other officer-involved shooting cases, the results of the ABI investigation, once complete, will be sent to the local district attorney’s office.
The same subject may have been involved in an armed robbery earlier Saturday morning in Childersburg, according to police there.
Childersburg Police Department investigator Walt Smith said at 9:53 a.m. Saturday a white male entered the Super 280 service station on U.S. 280 in Childersburg, produced a blue steel snubnose revolver and robbed the cashier at gunpoint.
He escaped with an estimated $294 in cash from the register. No one was hurt in the robbery.
Smith said the suspect was wearing blue jeans, work boots, a canvas-type material jacket and what appeared to be a white University of Alabama baseball cap.
He fled the scene in a small white pickup truck with chrome rims and a silver tool box.
Childersburg police put out a be-on-the-lookout call for a white truck not long after the incident.
Watson would neither confirm nor deny that the driver was the same person responsible for the Childersburg robbery, although he did characterize such a scenario as “plausible.”
“The evidence collected from inside the truck is also with the ABI,” he said, indicating it might be too early to say anyway.
Following the wreck, the driver was airlifted to University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital, where he remained Monday afternoon. Although specific information on his condition was not available, he is not expected to die.