DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. – State authorities are in Dekalb County investigating an officer-involved shooting that followed a high speed chase.
Chief Jamie Smith with the Albertville Police Department says the chase began just before 4:00 Sunday afternoon by Snead Police Department officers. Smith says he doesn’t know why they attempted to stop the blue Ford Explorer, but the driver didn’t stop.
WHNT News 19 spoke with the family of the driver: Kenneth Shawn Whitmore.
The family says they’re also confused why 26-year-old Whitmore didn’t stop.
“We asked him why he wouldn’t stop, but he just wouldn’t give us an answer,” said Diane Whitmore, his step-mother.
Smith says the vehicle traveled on Highway 75 through Douglas. As it neared the Albertville airport, officers laid down spike strips in an attempt to stop the chase. The spike strips flattened one tire, but Smith says that didn’t stop the driver who continued north on Highway 75.
The chase continued into Dekalb County where law officers with the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office and Geraldine Police joined the pursuit. Smith says Whitmore attempted to crash into officers while passing through downtown Geraldine, ultimately hitting a Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office vehicle.
Smith says that’s when officers fired multiple rounds into the Ford Explorer, hitting Whitmore.
Whitmore’s family is now questioning why officers shot multiple rounds even after his vehicle was at a stop. That’s when the chase ended.
“What I would like to know is, I know he did wrong in the chase and everything, but why was he shot five times and he had his hands up… He told us,” explained David Whitmore, his father.
Authorities tell us paramedics then rushed Whitmore to Marshall Medical Center South, then a medical helicopter took him to Huntsville Hospital.
Whitmore’s family tells WHNT News 19 that he’s in “stable” condition.
“He’s alert, he was talking to us but he still has several bullet wounds on his hands, neck and head,” said Diane.
In a statement, Smith said officers from the Albertville Police Department have been placed on administrative leave per department protocol. He didn’t say how many officers were involved.
WHNT News 19 found that Kenneth Shawn Whitmore has a lengthy history with the law. He was released from prison just two months ago after being booked for using false identification to avoid summons, arrest, prosecution, or a criminal investigation.
Authorities have not released the reason why they tried to stop him in the first place.
We’ve reached out to the Albertville Police Department and State Bureau of Investigation for any updates, but they’ve stated that the case is still under investigation.
This is an ongoing story and as we get new information we’ll update you here.