SHEFFIELD, Ala. — Dispatch audio from 911 operators in Colbert County are painting a clearer timeline of the events leading up to the fatal shooting of Sheffield Police Sergeant Nick Risner.
At 1:44pm on Friday, October 1st, dispatchers told officers that someone had called 911 saying a person had fallen from a moving vehicle on Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals. The caller quickly clarified that the body was pushed from the vehicle.
Once officers arrived on the scene, they confirmed that the person in the road had traumatic injury to the head. They called for an air evac unit, but after realizing the person was dead, it was cancelled.
Then, the search for a killer began. Dispatchers told officers to be on the lookout for a gray Ford F-150 last seen travelling in the area of Avalon Avenue. A short while later, 911 got a tip that the vehicle may have been involved in a hit and run on Woodward Avenue. Officers from Sheffield quickly spotted the vehicle and began pursuit.
The driver led them on a chase from Sheffield City limits back to Muscle Shoals. According to the radio traffic, the driver turned left off of Montgomery Avenue on to Avalon Avenue. He eventually turned off of Avalon Avenue into a parking lot near the Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant. Officers attempted a maneuver to bring the vehicle to a stop.
At 2:26pm, Sheffield Police Lieutenant Max Dotson can be heard saying: “Shots fired! I’ve been hit! I’ve been hit!”
Dispatch calls for Muscle Shoals Rescue as well as two air evac units. Initially, they were only aware of the one officer shot.
A few minutes later, an officer on the scene shares the news. He relays that in addition to Dotson, who had been shot in the vest and was not injured, a second officer had been shot and was “down.” The suspect was also described as “down”.
An air evac unit transported Sgt. Nick Risner to Huntsville Hospital for surgery. He died at 9:52am the next morning, Saturday, October 2nd.
While the events of the span of just a few hours would end Sgt. Risner’s time on Earth, his legacy will live on forever.