Morgan Sheriff Awaits HPD Investigation Of Deputy-Involved Shooting In Huntsville

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – A tense scene at the Walmart on South Parkway in Huntsville Tuesday afternoon. An off-duty Morgan County sheriff’s deputy shot a man while trying to make an arrest. The deputy says he recognized David Horton as a wanted felon. Horton was treated and released from Huntsville Hospital then transferred to the Morgan County Jail.

The shooting investigation continues today. Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin says she is waiting on the results of a Huntsville Police Department probe of the incident and plans to turn it over to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

Sheriff Franklin declined to discuss the specifics of the shooting until HPD completes their investigation. But she says an officer is bound by his oath 24 hours a day, whether he’s on or off duty.

“It puts law enforcement in a very tricky situation when you’re off duty and if a crime is being committed and we know that someone has committed a crime, you know, if you don’t act on it then you haven’t acted within your oath and if you do act on it, it’s very, you’ve got to be very careful in how you deal with a situation like that,” Franklin says.

The off-duty deputy told Huntsville Police his weapon accidentally discharged and hit David Horton. Witnesses told us the deputy squared and fired as Horton tried to run away.

“We’ll look at all of that as we get this information into us and of course we’ll go and see as far as rules and regulations internally and administratively what is the next step after we get the Huntsville PD and district attorney and Madison County’s accessment of it.”

As is customary, the deputy has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. While Sheriff Franklin declined to identify the deputy, she says he is a veteran officer in good standing with the department.

20 comments

  • tim

    I could see the deputy trying to make the arrest but shooting an unarmed subject that was running away is not lawful. If this had been a private citizen they would be sitting in jail on multiple charges right now. Discharging a firearm in city, assault with a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment ect… No special treatment should be given. Would they work this hard to not charge a private person or delay the arrest of that person if they made the same boneheaded decision ? I think not

    • Michael

      Ever heard of excessive force? Suspect was unarmed and not a threat to any bystanders. The big deal is that the deputy fired his gun in a crowded area. The deputy is lucky someone else didn’t grab a gun and fire at him thinking he was some madman shooting someone.

  • Tara

    One might think that Huntsville officials would be more concerned about the fact that an off duty officer from another county shot someone in a walmart parking lot. I know I’m concerned. If the person didn’t commit a violent crime, why shoot him? Why take the risk of hitting innocent civilians? I shop at this walmart every week, often with my kids. I wish city officials would act more concerned about this matter.

  • tim

    @Newman , if it were legal for officers to just shoot fleeing felons there would a lot less felons !! lol….but its not and you are the one that’s full of it..

  • Cynthi

    Maybe it would be a good idea to get more officers at the scene and cover the outside and wait til he comes out of store. It did put alot of people in danger…The man could have shot someone or held someone for ransom. My kids are in that Walmart all the time..

  • New

    What a joke, they allow the police in the area to do whatever they want. I never see them actually doing any work other than speeding tickets. Violent crime has been going up, and HPD is still paid to harass and hinder. What a joke, it is sad. Maybe if they had to follow the law or held to some kind of accountability Huntsville would be a okay place to live again.

  • Wes

    It’s obvious the officer made a mistake. If he fired the weapon intentionally, he’s done, civil suits to follow. If the weapon discharged accidently, I would want to know his background including previous “mistakes” before judging him. Even if it was a mistake, Morgan County and the officer are going to pay. The only good that may come out of this is other police officers are watching and hopefully edjucating themselves. My fear is because of this they may hesitate in the future to use their weapon when it’s justified and cost them their life.

  • Dennis Buckmeir

    The situation as I understand it is this: The officer declared himself to be police and the citizen was told he was under arrest. The citizen made a decision to run instead of cooperating with the officer. When the citizen ran he placed the officer in a decision position how best to stop the fleeing citizen. A physical confrontation could have escalated because the officer didn’t know how many other citizens would come to help the fleeing citizen. The officer decided to wound the fleeing citizen and while aiming accidently discharged his weapon when he didn’t intend to. That was a stressful situation at best.
    An upstanding citizen would not have run and would have cooperated with the officer. The citizen is the one at fault here. Knock yourself out with the civil lawsuits. I support the officer.

    • Michael

      You really believe all that? I’m sure that’s what the police will say anyways.

      So he decides to wound the unarmed guy posing no threat but his gun accidentally discharges? No. Just….no. Any schmuck on the street can produce a gun and say “I’m a police officer and you’re under arrest.” I would have been skeptical of someone saying that to me too. I was told personally by a Morgan County officer just last year that they don’t have badges. If true, forget showing his badge.

      • Dennis Buckmeir

        Ya, I believe everything I wrote. Declaring to be a police officer when you are not is illegal. Morgan County Deputies have five star badges. Ask and they will be glad to show you and then they will run your ID to see if you have any outstanding warrants; so maybe you might be better off if you don’t ask to see their badge. I asked because I wanted to know a real badge from a fake one. But having a badge or not, they are still an officer of the court and citizens are required to cooperate or risk the consequences. In the case of the fleeing citizen, there were consequences and I’m confident the fleeing citizen feels they should have not been shot for just running away (and I am also confident this isn’t the first time they ran away).

    • Branko Pezdi

      “The officer decided to wound the fleeing citizen and while aiming accidently discharged his weapon when he didn’t intend to.”

      This sentence contradicts itself and makes absolutely no sense.

      • Dennis Buckmeir

        There is no contradiction. He fired the weapon when he didn’t want to. Maybe the background wasn’t clear enough or he was aiming for the upper leg and fired when the laser pointed at the knee or other joint. Nobody wants to cripple someone. Hitting a moving target is an art.

  • Smiley

    Hipocracy and ignorance at its best. Seems to me like most ppl want their cake and eat it too. When you need the police they are always there putting their lives in danger to protect you but you want to bash them in the same breath for doing the job they took an oath to protect and serve. None of you were there to be able to pass judgement on the accounts that went down plus you can’t always believe everything the news reports cause they are going to spin it around to whatever is going to get the biggest reaction out of the public. Think before you speak ppl cause one day your going to need the police and they will be there with flying colors ready to help. Thank a police officer cause they deserve more credit than y’all are willing to give them.

    • Branko Pezdi

      So you’re saying that the reporter is lying when he writes that “Witnesses told us the deputy squared and fired as Horton tried to run away.” Riiiiiiight……

      There is no hipocracy [sic] here. Average people want and appreciate a police force protecting and serving them. However, the police need to do their job properly (and like it or not, there ARE bad cops). We have only the information written in these news articles, but from this information it is apparent that this trigger happy deputy acted irresponsibly, dangerously, and contrary to his training and law enforcement policy, perhaps feloniously so.

      • Dennis Buckmeir

        I don’t agree with your conclusion of “Apparent”. The deputy made a deliberate effort to aim and was not trigger happy. The irresponsible person was the fleeing citizen who was fleeing thru a crowd to cover themselves. The deputy waited for an opening to safely fire. No innocent bystander was hurt.

      • Branko Pezdi

        Well, we disagree then. I believe that what the cop did was completely unjustified, illegal, and against police department policy. There is no justification for shooting a fleeing, unarmed suspect in the back, a suspect who at the time made no threats to life or limb nor showed any indication of doing so. The number of felony warrants on the suspect is irrelevant.

      • Dennis Buckmeir

        The deputy was totally justified, not performing an illegal act, and following department policy. The felony warrants is the reason the officer placed the citizen under arrest and the citizen was illegaly trying to get away. Fleeing arrest is illegal. Shooting a fleeing suspect is not illegal.
        The fleeing citizen made the decision to flee thru a crowd to make his big “Getaway”. No innocent bystanders were hurt. The fault completely lies with the fleeing citizen. I think the fleeing citizen should have to reimburse the officer for the round fired. I think the officer should be allowed to bill the fleeing citizen.

      • Branko Pezdi

        In addition the cop drew and fired his gun in a parking lot containing innocent bystanders. Cops like this are a menace and need to be fired – and prosecuted.

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