HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — During a preliminary hearing, an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Special Agent described an ambush-style attack by the man accused of killing a Huntsville Police Department officer and injuring another.
Juan Laws, 24, is charged with capital murder in the March 28 shooting death of Huntsville Police Officer Garrett Crumby. Officer Albert Morin was also shot and seriously wounded in the incident. The investigator’s testimony was presented during a preliminary hearing before Madison County District Judge Linda Coats.
Initial reporting showed Around 4:45 p.m. on March 28, Officer Crumby and Officer Morin responded to a “shots fired” call at the Governors House Apartments on Governors House Drive.
News 19’s Dallas Parker reported live from the courtroom. Here’s a recap of the testimony:
(ALEA) Special Agent Joshua Colquitt was called to testify. Colquitt says he was called to the scene by HPD Chief Kirk Giles.
Colquitt says Arionne Douglas, Laws’ girlfriend called 911, saying she had been shot. Officer Crumby and Officer Morin responded to the scene. Officer Morin knocked on the door and a woman could be heard screaming inside, according to Colquitt. Morin opened the door and saw a man in full body armor. Crumby came around and shots were fired.
Crumby was hit and landed on his back. Morin was also hit, he returned fire, hitting Laws in the leg, according to Colquitt. The investigator said a medical examiner identified 10 wounds on Crumby, though it was not clear how many were exit or entry wounds or shrapnel.
Colquitt said when investigators interviewed Officer Morin after he left the hospital, he recalled Laws was wearing body armor, and that was why he shot him in the leg. Morin told investigators Laws’ body armor “defeated his.” Morin was injured after a bullet went through his vest, Colquitt said.
According to the SWAT report, officers had broken out a window and dispersed tear gas to get Laws out of his apartment. Laws had contacted several family members and told them he was bleeding out and that he had shot two police officers, Colquitt said. Eventually, Laws came out into the breezeway.
Laws was wearing plate armor, tactical pants and combat boots, the report said. He was taken into custody at 6:11 p.m., Colquitt said. ALEA recovered an AR-15, a Smith and Wesson M&P and a Glock 23 .40 caliber weapon, according to testimony.
Investigators said Laws fired more than 20 rounds.
Laws’ defense attorney Larry Marsili also questioned Colquitt. He testified that there was no interrogation or interview with Laws. Colquitt said that they spoke with multiple witnesses and got social media videos posted from the scene.
Prosecutors told News 19 investigators decided not to interview Laws in the hospital, and after his attorneys were appointed he refused to talk.
Colquitt said the body camera captures Crumby being shot multiple times, and that Morin’s body camera came off and landed where it was observing the wall and captured other rounds that were flying. He said several shots went through the door and projectiles went into the apartment across to the back bedroom.
Another investigator interviewed Douglas, Laws’ girlfriend, at the hospital, where she was being treated. She told the investigator Laws was at Larry’s Pistol and Pawn earlier that day. She thought he was intoxicated, according to testimony. Douglas told the investigator Laws fell asleep on the bathroom floor in the apartment. Then, she said, he woke up looking for guns. She was shot in the leg shortly after that, she said.
Colquitt told Marsili that during Officer Morin’s interview, he confirmed the nature of the call, that he knocked at the apartment and that when the door opened, shots were fired. He saw into the apartment, saw the body armor that quote, “defeated his” and proceeded to shoot Laws in the leg. Colquitt said there are some details Morin does not recall.
In further cross-examination, defense attorney Bruce Gardner asked if investigators interviewed anyone who claimed to have seen what happened. Colquitt said they did not.
Records from Larry’s Pistol and Pawn show Laws had previously bought or sold items in the past, according to Colquitt.
After testimony ended, Judge Linda Coats ruled there is probable cause to send the case to a Madison County grand jury.