16-year-old among robbers involved in Birmingham PD officer-involved shooting

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Latest on the police-officer involved shooting Sunday morning:


United States Attorney Jay E. Town released a statement on the shooting of Birmingham Police Department Detective John Finke.

“This tragedy is a heartbreaking reminder of the dangers all law enforcement face.  While they keep us safe.  While they do the job.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Detective Finke, his family, and all of Birmingham PD.  We should never forget that the line of duty is endowed by sacrifice, selflessness, and courage.”

In addition, Mayor Randall Woodfin has sent a heartfelt message to Detective Finke and his family.

The Church of the Highlands made a post with thoughts and prayers for Detective Finke.


The Birmingham City Council released a statement offering thoughts and prayers of comfort to the loved ones of Detective John Finke of the Birmingham Police Department.

Finke was shot multiple times Sunday morning after confronting two robbers in Woodlawn.

“The Birmingham City Council stands with the law-abiding citizens, family, and the entire Birmingham Police Department, and will work cooperatively to combat this senseless violence,” President William Parker said.  “We are praying for Detective Finke’s full recovery.”

“The Birmingham City Council stands with the law-abiding citizens, family, and the entire Birmingham Police Department, and will work cooperatively to combat this senseless violence,” Parker said.  “We are praying for Detective Finke’s full recovery.”

Finke has been with the department since 2005.  He was working security, Sunday, at the Church of the Highlands campus in Woodlawn.

“I am lifting the officer in prayer for comfort and strength,” Council President Pro Tem Wardine Alexander said.  “I am also supporting the Mayor and Police Chief in their efforts to rid our streets of illegal weapons and find sustainable solutions to minimize the violence in our City.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer’s family during this trying time, as well as all of the men and women of the Birmingham Police Department who get up every day and put their lives on the line to make the City a safer place,” said Public Safety Chair Hunter Williams.  For a soundbite from Councilor Williams, see the verbatim and link below.

“On behalf of the leadership of all of the City of Birmingham, especially the Birmingham City Council and the Public Safety Committee, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Detective Finke, as well as all of the men and women of the Birmingham Police Department.  What happened today just exemplifies the real-life threats that the men and women of Birmingham Police put their lives on the line every single day to protect our citizens–those that work, live, and travel throughout the City of Birmingham,” Councilor Hunter Williams, Public Safety Committee Chair, said.


Police say the robbers involved in the shooting are a 16-year-old boy and 25-year-old man. Police believe the shooter in the case is the teen.

The Birmingham Police officer John Finke remains in intensive care at the hospital.

The handgun recovered matches the bullet casings and description that police were given, Chief Patrick Smith reports.

At this time, police are scaling back the crime scene so that investigators can continue to canvas the scene.

UPDATE 1:15 P.M.

During the latest news conference, Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said Detective John Finke is the officer involved in the shooting. He made it out of his first surgery and is in intensive care remaining in critical condition.

Chief Smith believes he will require additional surgery due to the injury to the abdomen area and excessive blood loss.

In a new development, police reported they have two people in custody. Police believe Finke may have observed the robbery taking place, then requested additional help at the location. During the robbery, two cell phones were taken from the victims before Finke intervened.

Police do not believe the victims were shot.

The second person was located at the Winn Dixie grocery store in the 2200 block of Bessemer Road.

Finke has been with the Birmingham Police Department for 15 years. He works in the narcotics unit. Originally police thought he was struck three times, twice in the stomach and once in the arm. However, police say the bullet that hit him in the arm was a ricochet bullet that hit the ground first and did not penetrate his skin.

Detective John Finke (Courtesy/BirminghamPD)

Finke is married and has one daughter in college. The two of them are headed to the hospital to be with him at this time.

Currently, Birmingham police detectives are canvassing every resident in the area to find more information that can help them with the investigation.


Birmingham Police were able to track the victim’s cell phone to the Birmingham Ensley neighborhood, Police Chief Patrick Smith said. They were stolen during the robbery.

Once officers were in the area of the cell phone location, they found one person inside of a vehicle. They were able to detain him. The robber had the two victims’ cell phones in his possession at the time that he was detained.

Police have taken the cell phones in for evidence. In addition, police took in a handgun found in the vehicle. It’s not clear if it was the weapon used in the shooting.

At this time, two people are in custody. Police are gathering more information to make sure they have the correct people in custody and to further find out if there are more people that they should be searching for.

Birmingham Police said the officer involved, narcotics Detective John Finke, was out of his first surgery by 1:15 p.m. and was recovering in ICU. He is listed as critical condition at UAB Hospital, according to our news partners at AL.com. The off-duty officer was working as security at the Church of the Highlands satellite location. Chief Smith reports he was wearing a police uniform but was not wearing a protective vest.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham police officers are searching for two robbers, one who shot a police officer three times, police report.

Around 9:20 a.m., police received a call about a robbery near the 5400 block of Georgia Road. Once the officer arrived at the location of the incident, the officer confronted one of the robbers. That is when a robber began to fire gunshots at the officer, Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said in a brief news conference Sunday morning.

The police officer was shot twice in the stomach area. Our news partners at AL.com report what was initially believed to be a third wound was a ricochet.

The two robbers fled the scene after the shooting and authorities are searching for them at this time. Birmingham police have marked off a perimeter in the area where they believe they may be hiding.

There are multiple units involved in this investigation, including K9 and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Based on what police have gathered, Chief Smith says they believe the officer was able to return fire during the shooting, however it’s unclear if either of the robbers were struck by the gunfire.

Police were able to interview witnesses including the two individuals who were the victims of the robbery that initiated this officer-involved shooting. This remains under investigation.

The police officer injured in this shooting was off-duty working at the Church of the Highlands when he responded to the robbery. He has worked for the Birmingham Police Department since 2005. He was transported to the hospital and was conscious before going into surgery.

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