HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT) - Officials are now confirming that the man who was killed in an officer-involved shooting in Huntsville last Friday was a fugitive from South Carolina already convicted of child sex crimes.
Madison County Coroner Craig Whisenant identified the man who was shot as 57-year-old Brent Dotson. Dotson was convicted last year of raping a 6-year-old girl. Records show Dotson never showed up for his trial in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina last December, and had not been seen since he was convicted 'in absentia'.
According to media reports from South Carolina, Dotson's original trial was set for September 2012, but was delayed by three months due to medical issues the defendant had. Dotson disappeared weeks before his rescheduled trial was set to begin.
Friday's fatal shooting happened in the Mountain View Mobile Home Park off Slaughter Road. Huntsville Police spokesman Harry Hobbs told WHNT News 19 that the suspect fired a gun after being questioned by officers, who were responding to a report of a suspicious person in the area. According to Hobbs, one officer returned fire, but a preliminary autopsy revealed that Dotson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Police said the incident remains under investigation.
It's not known how long Dotson was in north Alabama or where he may have been staying. Mountain View resident Samantha Perry called police after observing Dotson, and saw the entire shootout unfold from her front window on Friday morning. She said she was stunned by the revelation that Dotson was a wanted man.
"He just didn't look right, he looked disturbed, very crazy," said Perry. "It's kind of shocking cause he could've gotten to my kids and the rest of the kids around here. I just can't believe somebody like that was here... I hate that the man lost his life, but he can't hurt no more kids, and I'm glad."
The Huntsville police officer who fired his weapon remains on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
Media reports from South Carolina indicate Dotson also had a pending trial on separate child sex abuse cases. Records obtained by WHNT News 19 indicate that Dotson had a post office box address in Guntersville in the early 1990s.