“On November 12, 2009 law enforcement with the City of Pell City and St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department executed an anticipatory search warrant, drafted by this office, on the residence of Barry Bush,” District Attorney Richard Minor wrote in his Dec. 22 letter to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. “During the entry, an officer fired one shot that resulted in the death of Barry Bush. The incident is currently under investigation by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.”
In his letter, Minor requested that the Etowah County District Attorney’s Office take over the investigation and oversee the grand jury presentation and prosecution, if any, related to the shooting death of 41-year-old Bush.
“On Dec. 18, 2009, I received a letter on behalf of the family of Barry Bush asking our office to recuse in all matters related to this shooting,” Minor wrote. “Based on this request, my office’s participation in the drafting of the search warrant and my desire to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, I am recusing my office in this matter. …”
The Alabama Attorney General’s Office granted the request from Minor to recuse his office and appointed Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp or his designated assistant district attorney to handle the case.
“During this assignment, Mr. Harp will have all the authority of a district attorney of this circuit and may perform such duties that are necessary in connection with this assignment,” Donald G. Valeska II, the assistant attorney general who is the division chief overseeing the violent crimes division, wrote in his Dec. 29 letter to Minor.
“I really don’t have any comment one way or the other,” Pell City attorney Charlie Robinson, who is representing the Bush family, said Tuesday. “The family wants to know what happened — that’s the bottom line.”
Officials say Bush was shot after authorities attempted to serve a search warrant at the victim’s mobile home in the Shadydale Mobile Home Park last November.
According to the initial search warrant obtained by the Pell City Police Department and filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court, it was alleged that illegal controlled substances were being sold from Bush’s residence.
An inventory filed with the circuit court by the ABI of listed items found and seized at the residence included one cartridge casing, two bags of green-brown plant material, a pistol, a rifle and $100 in cash.
St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell said Bush died from a single gunshot wound to head.
Minor said, as of Tuesday, the ABI’s investigation report had not been provided to the District Attorney’s Office.