October 24, 2020

Police officer in critical condition after deadly shootout with suspect

An armed man opened fire at police officers in Alabama, critically wounding one of them before an officer fatally shot him, authorities said Friday.

The gunfire involved a police officer from Ozark in southeast Alabama, news outlets reported.

WTVY-TV quoted Ozark police as saying police confronted an armed man walking on a road Thursday night, and the man opened fire.

Officers returned fire, killing the man, according to the report.

A statement posted on social media by the sheriff’s office in neighboring Houston County said an officer was wounded while on the scene of a call. The officer was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Authorities haven’t released the names of the officer or the man who was killed, but Mayor Bob Bunting described the officer as his favorite person on the city’s police force, someone who is “young, strong, and determined.”

The officer is in “very critical” condition with a wound to the face, he said, “but as stable as he can be.”

“His condition is not good. If we can get through another 36 to 48 hours and things continue I think he’s got a chance,” Bunting said.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, the state’s top law enforcement official, tweeted a message asking for prayers for the wounded officer.

Ozark, home of the Army’s Fort Rucker helicopter training base, is located about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Montgomery.