BIBB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A 26-year-old man at the center of an Alabama manhunt should” not have been out of prison,” according to State Auditor Jim Zeigler.
Austin Patrick Hall is accused of shooting two Bibb County Deputies on Wednesday in Brierfield, Alabama. Authorities have said both deputies were taken to UAB Hospital with unknown injuries, though the Bibb County District Attorney Michael Jackson says one of them was hit in a “critical area.”
In a statement released early Thursday morning, Zeigler says Hall has been charged with at least 46 crimes over the past nine years, and had been approved for a work release in 2019 while he was serving a 10-year sentence for theft charges from 2018.
“This inmate was not appropriate for work release then, and he was not supposed to be out of prison now,” Zeigler said.
According to Zeigler, Hall was indicted this past May on 10 charges of second-degree receiving stolen property, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, certain persons prohibited from carrying a firearm, drug possession, resisting arrest, attempting to elude and third-degree burglary.
On top of that, Zeigler added that Hall led police on a two-state chase in 2019.
“Our criminal justice system needs to do a much better job of deciding which inmates to release under work release, parole and any types of early release,” Zeigler said. “We need more accountability on the part of officials who make these decisions.”
Zeigler added the need to take a “harder look” at all forms of criminal release.
“It appears that Hall was not supposed to be out of prison at this time,” said Zeigler. “We need to tighten up accountability for the safety of the public and law enforcement.”
Hall is described as being 5’9″ and weighing 169 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. He previously escaped custody as an inmate in Wilcox County in 2019.
According to Centreville City Officials, Hall is believed to be on foot. Authorities say he is considered to be armed and dangerous.
If you see Hall, contact your local law enforcement agency or call 911.