MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. — A Sheffield police officer was taken to Huntsville Hospital in critical condition after a shootout with a suspect, police said.
The officer was one of two who were hit by bullets during a firefight behind Southgate Mall Friday afternoon, authorities said.
Sheffield Police Chief Ricky Terry identified the officer as Sgt. Nick Risner. Risner, a K-9 officer, had surgery Friday but remains in critical condition.
Muscle Shoals Police Chief Clint Reck said the suspect, Brian Lansing Martin, was also hit during the shooting and was taken to Huntsville Hospital.
Reck said they received a call at 1:44 p.m. Friday of a pedestrian that had been hit on Avalon Avenue. When they arrived, Reck said officers found the person, who was dead, had been shot.
Sheffield police spotted a vehicle matching the description of one that left the scene in their city, Reck said, and officers there chased the suspect back into Muscle Shoals.
Officers trapped the suspect’s vehicle behind the mall in order to keep him from getting close to the nearby Walmart, Reck said, and Martin began shooting.
One officer was hit in the vest and not injured, Reck said. Sheffield Police Chief Ricky Terry confirmed Lt. Max Dotson was the officer hit in the vest. The other officer was shot through his windshield.
Martin, 41, was sentenced in 2013 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter. He was arrested in 2011 for killing his father over an owed debt in Tuscumbia. He was released from prison in May 2016, according to police.
East Avalon Avenue between John R Street and Gusmus Avenue was closed while police worked on the scene there.
Multiple evidence markers could be seen in the parking lot behind the mall. Police from Florence, Tuscumbia, Cherokee, Muscle Shoals and Sheffield were all at that scene.
Muscle Shoals City Schools Superintendent Dr. Chad Holden released the following statement on Friday afternoon:
We appreciate the good work of MSPD in the situation that occurred this afternoon. We were in full communication with the police during the pursuit of the suspect. We knew where the suspect was and when the suspect was in custody. We did bring students in from outside and were prepared to implement more secure measures if the situation moved closer to any of our campuses. Principals were fully aware of the situation in real-time as well. As information was relayed to me, I relayed it the principals at every campus simultaneously. Schools were dismissed in normal fashion.MSCS Superintendent Chad Holden
ALEA’s State Bureau of Investigation has taken over the case because officers were involved.
An ALEA spokesperson said at 4:30 p.m. the agency had no information to release yet.