Morgan County Deputy Arrested For Shooting Fleeing Felon At Huntsville Walmart

BRIAN FULFORD

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Fulford turned himself in to Huntsville Police Friday afternoon to face a charge of 2nd degree assault, the result of a shooting Tuesday at the South Parkway Walmart. Fulford was later released on a $5,000 bond.

A news release from Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin says she will meet with Fulford Monday to discuss his status with the sheriff’s department.

Fulford was off-duty and at the Walmart in Huntsville early Tuesday afternoon when he told investigators he recognized David Horton who the department held a felony arrest warrant for. As Fulford tried to arrest Horton, he fled. Surveillance video from the store shows Fulford running with his weapon drawn and it fires. The bullet struck Horton in the buttocks. He was treated and released from Huntsville Hospital before being arrested and transported to the Morgan County Jail.

Fulford told investigators his gun fired accidentally during the foot pursuit. He was immediately placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. As a result of the criminal charge, he has been placed on leave without pay.

On Wednesday, Sheriff Franklin told WHNT News 19 that off-duty incidents such as this place officers in difficult situations. “They are bound by their oath 24/7, whether on duty or not,” she said. She added, “But the same rules and regulations apply.” Franklin said Fulford would have been in violation of his oath had he not taken action to apprehend Horton.

Horton remains in the Morgan County Jail without bond facing two counts of assault, community corrections violations and felony probation violation.

46 comments

  • John Doe

    Accidents happen. People that drive vehicles for a living are more likely to have an accident in a vehicle & folks that do high risk jobs for a living are human and are capable of making a high risk mistakes.

    Think about all of the calls he went on putting himself in danger to rid us of a threat. He may have shot the guy in the butt but I’d still shake his hand. I hope the best for him. Maybe if the video is released we can see it and hopefully see if there is a way of justifying the deputy.

    Prayers for Deputy Fulford. Fulford if you read this message, if you tried to do the right thing and an accident happened you hold your head up! You were trying to do the right thing and get a FELON in jail.

    • tim

      @john doe, even felons have the right to not be shot for no reason. LE officers do not have any special rights which allow them to shoot unarmed people, if they did many dirtbags would not make it to jail… This was a crowded area and innocent people could have been hurt. For what ? because the guy was wanted…. Very Stupid.

    • LAC

      John Doe, your good explanation and siding with the officer is missing one thing… He lied about shooting him, care to explain that? And before you say anything about the whole judging him… Putting his life on the line and all that stuff… I’m a cop.

      • John Doe

        @Tim- I did not condone or justify the shooting. When the article first came out, on WAFF I believe, the reports indicated that Fulford ACCIDENTALLY shot the guy. I am simply acknowledging the tragic situation and expressing my sympathy for a guy who was at one second trying to do the right thing and the next second he is on his way to a felony arrest. Tim, if you’re a cop then you should know the fine line you all must walk. One misstep could not only cost you your job but also cost you your freedom.

        Shooting a fleeing felon is wrong. I am VERY familiar with Tennessee vs Garner. I wasn’t trying to justify what happened.

      • John Doe

        @LAC Unless you are privy to the exact details of the investigation then I don’t know where you got your information that Deputy Fulford lied? Initial reports showed that HE ALREADY ADMITTED TO SHOOTING him to the investigators and that was an accident. Now, if it was an accident that still doesn’t make it right. I agree with you.

        I think the real issue here is police training or lack thereof. The deputies have had I don’t know how many wrecks in the last year & a half. There must have been 10 wrecks in the last year alone and I’m not talking a scrape here & there. I’m talking vehicles in the ditch overturned, totaled cars and the whole 9 yards.

        I don’t plan on voting for Ana but the other guy, Cavnar sounds naive too. He acts like the sheriff is only arresting for meth & he wants to one up her and focus on all drugs. I do like the fact that he is wanting more training for the deputies. Some of them just need some training to sink in. Thats something that lacks in a lot of smaller agencies.

        The sheriff’s office spends a lot on training k-9s weekly but I think they should shift the focus over to officer safety and safe driving, maybe some skid car driving or something to get those guys more oriented toward safety.

  • Michael

    Stories like this are why you’re 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer in this country than you are by a terrorist.

  • Jane Doe

    He has a responsibility to protect the community. Whether he was on duty or not. He is a good man and I’m sure he did what he thought was right at the time.

    • tim

      @Jane Doe , that’s the problem here… He thought it was ok to shoot an unarmed person AND ITS NOT OK….

    • LAC

      Jane Doe… protect the community from what…. a guy with warrants shopping at wal mart? Happens everyday. If he thought what he was doing was right, then why ie about it?

  • ariel

    i think its a good thing they made an example to other police officers that no you can not shoot someone and get away with it. i hear of that happening all to often lately, usually for no good reason its good they finally took one to jail for it. also, being a felon doesnt necessarily make them a bad person, aeriously having some of your medication out of the prescription bottle in the right situation can label you as a felon, so dont be so quick to judge.

    • LAC

      Please show me the last time a cop in Huntsville shot a person with no just reason and was not punished?

  • ariel

    i think its a good thing they made an example to other police officers that no you can not shoot someone and get away with it. i hear of that happening all to often lately, usually for no good reason its good they finally took one to jail for it. also, being a felon doesnt necessarily make them a bad person, seriously having some of your medication out of the prescription bottle in the right situation can label you as a felon, so dont be so quick to judge.

    • Michael

      I don’t think it’s so much as making an example out of the deputy so much as it showing that NO ONE, not even a law enforcement officer, is above the law.

      • bb

        Michael…his boss believes she is above the law and should be in jail herself. That would be Sheriff Ana Franklin.

  • Victor

    If this guy made it to his car he would probably have backed over the officer without a second thought. This way at least no one was killed and the thug who ran from the cop was brought to justice. If he would have tried to back over the cop he would have been shoot to pieces or the cop would have been ran over. I would like to tell the cop nice shot as no one else was hit. It is his job to stop criminals and I see nothing wrong with him protecting the public.All this could have been avoided if the thug didn’t run while being arrested.

    • David Carroll

      Using this line of reasoning, I should go across the street and shoot my neighbor. He has been in trouble before so he might break into my house and rob me. I better not wait until he is actually breaking down my door to shoot him.

    • John Doe

      @Victor- I’m sure the guy was a turd sandwich. I have no doubt that if he would have made it to his car he would have happily endangered the lives of anyone & everyone just so he could enjoy a few more days of smoking weed, popping pills, getting drunk or whatever cranks his tractor. I’m sure the guy didn’t have a job and was not supporting himself but free loading off of whoever would allow him.

  • Jim

    Well, probably not a good idea to shoot him but the guy was a wanted criminal none the less. Write him up but dont fire him unless this was something he does all the time..

  • Skillpot

    If, if, if! Yes, it could have been worse, but, it was not! As I said in an earlier post, this week, I was shopping at that Walmart just a few days ago, in the spot outside, and the bullet could have hit me, had I been in the same area on the same day the guy was shot, or it could have happened to another citizen. SO, let’s reverse the humanistic, CMA, CYA arrest, then release the man! I am sure this got his attention, and many others, like on the Huntsville force.

  • tim

    2nd degree assault is a Felony. The deputy won’t be able to buy, possess or own a firearm if convicted ? I hope other LE officers learn from this. No dirtbag is worth your career. The dirtbag he was trying to arrest is already a felon and will be living out his days comfortably with the money he gets from the county for being shot.

  • StariVojnik

    Retired Soldier. It’s easy to teach an 18-year old to fire a weapon. It takes discipline to give that 18-year old a loaded weapon in an adverse situation and teach him or her not to shoot. Same thing with police officers – easy to teach them to fire – takes discipline to know when not to fire – a crowded store with many innocent bystanders and a fleeing offender who is not armed and is not threatening anyone is such a place – we are not wrong to demand this discipline from our police officers. I applaud the many fine women and men of our police departments who have this discipline.

    • Nuclear Mike

      You just made the best comment on here…my Father was in 7 gunfights as a game warden & a WWII veteran…he detested having to draw his weapon, but did only when forced to do so…he outlived his law enforcement days to die quietly…

      • rick

        That person is a thug bully liar and doesnt deserve to be called a police officer.
        There are witness reports that he took aim and shot.
        $5000 bail for shooting someone….is that some kind of joke..

  • Michael

    As for the “But he was a felon” argument, the average American is said to commit up to 3 felonies a day. Just something to think about.

  • Truth hurts

    Wow this Police officer is getting off way to easy, he knows its gonna save his own behind if he says the gun went off my its self ,, (thats what they all say ) yea he gets laid off with out pay for shooting this man in the butt , But put the shoe on the other foot and if the other man would have the off duty police officer in the butt they would have gunned him down right there in the parking lot like its been done time and time again this is why Police brutality is on the rise , we let the real criminals walk the streets with guns and a badge

  • bb

    I blame Sheriff Ana Franklin for lack of proper training. Heck she has let her prized Lt. Bones Wilson shoot and kill 17 dogs since she took office. No, not pitbulls, we are talking golden retrievers, rat terriers, family pets just cuz he doesnt like dogs. Zero reprimand was given. If you dig a little deeper you will find out about all the corrupt things this woman has done while running her department. She has made too many “Friends” in the department and gives them special treatment. Hired people who are not qualified, certified, or even trained.

    • Michael

      As much as I’ve ripped Ana on here (I won’t be voting for her again), this is much bigger than one sheriff or one department. This is becoming a national crisis. We’ve given the government the power to train police officers to act like Jack Bauer wannabes. I highly recommend reading Radley Balko’s book “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.”

      • LAC

        Have to disagree. Most cops think this was stupid. Most cops are not using their off duty time to chase a guy with warrants, unless maybe it is something severe. Most cops are all about liberty and letting people fix their own problems. The reason police are trainined the manner they are trained is due to societial incidents and being prepared for them. For more information see West Memphis shootout, Hollywood Bank Robbery, Columbine, New Haven and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

  • bb

    OK media get ready. Many of the comments by the listeners are asking why did this happen, how could this shooting happen? Well! Guess What? It starts at the top. I am sure Sheriff Franklin has already called a press conference for Monday showing her regrets over this unfortunate incident. It’s the talk of the entire sheriff’s office. She sure didn’t shut her mouth during the time the Huntsville PD was trying to conduct their investigation into the shooting. Wish she had done a little bit more talking when all the dogs were shot over the past three years.

    We all knew that before long the shootings would go from dogs to humans without adequate training and supervision. Sheriff Franklin is never in the office until after four. No! I mean 4:00 p.m. not a.m. There is no direction, no supervision, and no training. The sheriff has left the management of the sheriff’s office to Livingston who can’t pass the APOST training. The sheriff has moved the warden out of the jail and placed the jail under the direct supervision of Berzett who is not APOST certified. Berzett just hired his granddaughter as a dispatcher. The sheriff told him he could because she hired her daughter in June 2012 and she didn’t get into trouble, according to the sheriff in a recent Republican Party speech “the press just loves me.”

    Sheriff Franklin took office and began her first turbulent year and the beat goes on and on and on and on and on! Our sheriff is a disgrace to our County. I am challenging all of the deputies that still have a career in the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office to retreat now while you still have a career. See below a few of the dangers the sheriff has placed you in personally.

    Out of Sheriff Franklin’s own mouth comes these words. Please be advised that effective as of January 18, 2011 at 12:01 a.m., the date I took office as Sheriff of Morgan County, that the provisions in the Morgan County Sheriff’s Manual of Rules and Regulations adopted by former Sheriff Greg L. Bartlett relating to the appointment, hiring, supervision, discipline, promotion, demotion, termination, and any other related personnel provisions in said Manual have no further force and effect or application to any Deputy Sheriff’s employed at the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department.

    There are a few things wrong with what the sheriff did. 1) The state rules, regulations, policies, procedures and let’s not forget laws does not allow a sheriff or any other employee or elected official to RETROACTIVELY rescind an official document. 2) Prior to an official manual being retired from existence the official must have an approved draft accepted by and approved by the state prior to retiring the existing manual. 3) Reference State Attorney General Opinion, dated July 9, 2008, Question: Can Morgan County place all employees of the sheriff’s department under a personnel policy adopted by the sheriff? The question was answered and the sheriff department employees were transferred to the Manual that Sheriff Ana Franklin retroactively rescinded dating back to the day she took office.

    Sheriff Franklin should have been fired immediately upon signing a document retroactively. She successfully placed all of the sheriff’s deputies in a potentially dangerous and vulnerable position with now written direction. The latest incident with Deputy Fulford is a clear example of lack of training and guidance through a formal Sheriff’s Manual, Policy, and Procedure. The citizens will blame the deputy the sheriff will make sure of it. Was deputy Fulford wrong? You bet. Does the sheriff have any fault in the incident? You bet. WHERE THE HECK IS THE STATE AGENCIES THAT SHOULD BE IN MORGAN COUNTY RIGHT NOW RELIEVING OUR SHERIFF OF DUTY BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE IS HURT OR KILLED?

    Tell me Sheriff Franklin what manual are you using these days? We have never seen a manual. Which manual did you use to terminate the deputies on your watch? Let me read just a little of the State Attorney General’s Opinion. “It is the opinion of this Office that the Morgan County Commission may transfer its right to supervise employees to the sheriff as long as the personnel policies of the county commission and the sheriff’s office are closely aligned, no employee will be deprived of a property interest, and no employee receives incongruent or inconsistent treatment as a result of the use of either of these personnel policies.”

    AGAIN! WHAT MANUAL?

    The press should realize that each time the sheriff calls you out to one of our so called Meth bust and has us open the container and let the fumes seep out that she is putting you at risk as well. Hay press, don’t worry about that just keep chasing her tail. I am sure she wouldn’t try to sway the press. I am also sure the press can’t be swayed. Hum!

    Unfortunately, for this deputy and many other employees of the sheriff’s department the sheriff has ice water running through her veins, a dry ice heart, and a will to get reelected at any cost. I guess the seat on the FBI did not work out for her. How else can Sheriff Franklin survive without the use of the sheriff’s truck to haul her horses around, carry hay, take beauty queens to Oklahoma, use our tax dollars to repair her truck after she put off road diesel in the truck and locked up the motor, fired a black lady on her third bout of cancer, and allowed many others to resign rather than be fired. You know who I am talking about sheriff. Shame on you.

    Yes public I have gone on and on. I wish you knew half the truth about the sheriff then you could have some compassion for the persons who work for her.

  • sheepdog

    I guess we will all find out what really happened at the trial. As a Deputy, I pull my gun only when needed. A felony traffic stop, alarm call where a building or house has to be searched etc. In this case there are several questions I have. Was this deputy off duty in uniform and stopped at walmart on the way home? Was he on his day off in civilian clothes? If I were in civilian clothes I would have called my dispatcher and had my dispatcher call local police dept. to do the take down. This deputy is lucky he did not get shot by a well armed civilian trying to prevent a murder. Trigger happy? Everytime I get out of the car on a traffic stop I got my gun 1/4 out of the holster, I don’t want my name in marble in Washington DC. The pay is crap, hours are crap, court on days off is crap, dealing with people with blood on them is crap, I do it because I want to. As far as the comments from the cop haters about us being trigger happy thug cops. Next time you need help please call a crackhead

  • Saved

    I pray every night that God will smite down these thugs that are shooting up our streets. I sent an email to Sean Hannity about these thugs. He sent me an email back saying that the picture in the story I sent him did not look like a thug. He said that he could not include this story on his show.

  • Mel

    Sheepdog, you said it well…but the idiots aren’t listening (as you already know, because I can tell you speak from experience).
    It sounds like Morgan County isn’t lacking in the internal drama like most departments do…unfortunately, we don’t all have great leaders all the time.
    It’s unfortunate, too, because some of us with the passion for the field can’t depend on our government to make sure they put QUALIFIED leaders over us all…it’s ALL POLITICS, sadly.

  • bob

    Sheepdog stated: “Next time you need help please call a crackhead” The problem I have with this statement is you are saying the only option from calling the police is calling a crackhead. I bet you think everyone not in law enforcement is a crackhead? Everyone is a suspect kind of mentality huh? You are no moral judge. You think you are a sheepdog and everyone else is sheep. Friends this is exactly what is ruining this great country.

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