Hero officer shot and killed during police pursuit: “Everybody loved him”

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Alabama – The law enforcement community is once again dealing with the pain of loss as officials confirmed a rookie officer with the Kimberly Police Department died on Wednesday. 

The name of the officer has not yet been released, but department officials said that he was gravely wounded after being shot during a pursuit of four suspects early Wednesday morning. 

The officer was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but as of Wednesday afternoon, Kimberly Mayor Bob Ellerbrock confirmed that the rookie officer had succumbed to his wounds. 

Ellerbrock said the officer had been with the department for less than a year. His death marks the first time a Kimberly officer has ever been killed while serving in the line of duty. 

“Everybody loved him” Ellerbrock said. “He was a tremendous asset to our community.”

 

He said the loss was devastating and completely unnecessary.

“You have a life taken away for no reason,” the mayor said. “It is senseless. It is sad.”

The governor of Alabama also released a statement following the officer’s untimely death. 

“I am profoundly grieved to hear of the passing of the Kimberly Police Officer who was shot in the line of duty last night. The safety of our citizens and the rule of law is forefront on the minds of our officers who willingly risk their lives on behalf of ours. His sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Governor Kay Ivey said.

The tragic incident started late on Tuesday night when officer from the Warrior Police Department attempted to make a traffic stop on a vehicle. Officials say the vehicle, filled with four suspects, refused to stop. That’s when Kimberly officers joined in the pursuit.

The Kimberly officer reportedly was able to get in front of the suspect’s vehicle, allowing the suspects to have an open opportunity to shoot.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing about 10 to 12 shots during the burst of gunfire. 

The Kimberly officer was struck and lost control of his vehicle, crashing it just a short distance away, police said. 

Right after the officer was injured, police lost track of the armed suspects. A BLUE Alert was issued in an attempt to quickly bring the suspects into custody. 

BLUE Alerts is a nationwide system. Alerts are issued whenever an officer is critically wounded or killed by a violent criminal in the hopes that all agencies in the area will be on high alert to help capture the wanted fugitives. 

 

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall posted a message to Twitter late in the evening to advise that an officer had been shot and was rushed to UAB Hospital in Birmingham.

The wanted triggerman was identified as Preston Chyenne Johnson. Police began an all-out manhunt to try and bring him in. 

Officials released information on Johnson’s vehicle – a black 4-door 2003 BMW 325ISA with Alabama tag 2495AS2 with a missing bumper.

Authorities noted that Johnson should’ve been considered armed and an extremely dangerous threat to the public. 

Hero officer shot and killed during police pursuit: "Everybody loved him"
37-year-old Preston Johnson has been booked on capital murder charges

 

In the early hours of the morning, police from Warrior, Alabama confirmed that they had taken Johnson and three additional suspects into custody and said that the threat to the surrounding areas had been neutralized. 

Officials say that Johnson had crashed the BMW he had been driving and called someone to pick him up in a GMC truck, in which authorities located and eventually got him into custody.

ABC 3340 reported that as of early Wednesday morning, Johnson had been booked into the Jefferson County Jail.

He now faces charges of capital murder. His hearing is set for March 2.

The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting.

According to state records, this isn’t the first time in recent history that Johnson has been involved with the law. 

Back in October of 2019, court records show that police arrested Johnson on Halloween after he was found in possession of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and an AR-15.

One Arrested in Connection to a Stolen Vehicle & Drugs; Vehicle Returned to Owner Thursday, October 31st, 2019,…

Posted by Cullman Sheriff on Thursday, October 31, 2019

 

According to the Cullman County Sheriff’s Department, that situation began with a stolen Corvette out of nearby Winston County. Days later, the Cullman County Sheriff’s Department learned that the stolen vehicle had crossed into their jurisdiction. 

They reportedly located the car along with Preston Johnson and arrested him. A search of his belongings turned up the 13 grams of narcotics and the firearm. 

Hero officer shot and killed during police pursuit: "Everybody loved him"
Cullman County Sheriff’s Department

 

Johnson was charged with Receiving Stolen Property, Possession with Intent to Distribute, Unlawful Possession of Controlled Substance, and Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Police say that because he was a felon, he may have faced additional charges over the gun. 

This has been a violent week against members of the law enforcement community. 

Police say a Milwaukee officer is recovering at the hospital after being wounded by gunfire in an incident Tuesday morning. 

According to a report from Fox 6 News, the unnamed officer and his partner attempted to pull a vehicle over after they were seen driving recklessly through the area of Teutonia and Roosevelt.

The driver fled and officers quickly gave chase. During the pursuit, the suspects lost control of their vehicle and crashed in the area of 29th and Teutonia.

Hero officer shot and killed during police pursuit: "Everybody loved him"
Fox 6 NOW Broadcast Screenshot

 

Police confirmed that three suspects then hopped out of the wrecked car and began to run on foot. Officers jumped out of their cruisers and began chasing the suspects. 

It was at that point that one of the suspects allegedly drew his weapon and fired at the Milwaukee officers. 

“Three suspects exited the vehicle and fled on foot. Officers gave chase.  At that time, a suspect fired at one of our officers or two of our officers, striking one,” said Milwaukee Police Captain David Salazar. 

 

The injured officer was said to be a  32-year-old man with a year-and-a-half of service. His partner is 33 and also has been with the department for a year-and-a-half, according to the captain. 

“He is conscious, and breathing and currently in stable condition,” said Salazar.

As more officers converged on the scene, a 26-year-old man and a 31-year-old man were taken into custody. Shortly after, police discovered the suspect who allegedly pulled the trigger dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

The suspects were not identified by name.

 

The weapon was recovered at the scene and authorities are continuing to investigate the details of the shooting. It was unclear if Milwaukee police fired any shots during the incident. 

Both the wounded officer and his partner will be placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues. 

The entire team at LET offers our prayers to the injured officer while he recovers. 

 

Earlier today we brought you the story about an injured California deputy who says his life was saved by his body-worn camera. 

Police are looking for the suspect who allegedly opened fire in a targeted, unprovoked attack on a California deputy’s life.

According to a report from the Mercury News, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy Sukhdeep Gill was on patrol Friday evening when he encountered his brush with death. 

Officials say that Gill was patrolling the Uvas Reservoir area when he got out of his cruiser to look around. Gill says that as he was outside his SUV, he noticed a car approaching his position. 

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But as the car drew closer, all of a sudden the headlights cut off. The next thing he knew, Gill was taking fire. According to reports, the gunman fired four shots, with one of the rounds striking the deputy in the chest. 

In an incredible stroke of luck, the bullet struck Gill’s body cam, which was backed by his body armor, preventing the round from entering his chest and potentially killing him. 

Reacting quickly, Gill reportedly squeezed off two rounds from his service weapon before calling, “Shots fired! Shots fired!” over the radio. 

Dispatchers say the next few minutes only brought silence from Gill’s end of the radio, prompting authorities to fear the worst. But the deputy had reportedly stumbled and fallen down an embankment during the shootout. After a few moments, they say he was able to climb his way back up to the road and made contact with the station again. 

“I think I was hit,” Gill can be heard saying.

 

Gill was transported to the hospital, where he was treated for his injuries. His department says he’s lucky to be alive, and if it wasn’t for the body cam and vest, the encounter might’ve been his last.

Sheriff Laurie Smith described the shooting as an “unprovoked attack” during a press conference. 

“It was an ambush,” Smith said. “Any one of those rounds could have hit him anywhere. He was very brave under fire.”

During the press briefing, Smith showed an image of the wounded deputy’s body-worn camera. It clearly shows the point of impact from the fired round – almost dead center. 

Hero officer shot and killed during police pursuit: "Everybody loved him"
Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office

 

Another photo showed what appeared to be three additional bullet holes in the rear of his squad car.

Gill considers himself extremely lucky to be walking away from the incident relatively unharmed. 

“This was absolutely a close call,” Lt. Brendan Omori said. “This was a targeted attack.”

Police are still desperately looking for the suspect who attempted to take the deputy’s life in the targeted shooting. While they have no suspects, their strongest lead is a description of the vehicle, which was described as a silver 2000s-era sedan, most likely a Honda.

They’re asking anyone with any information to contact the sheriff’s office. 

“We’ll follow up every lead,” Smith said. “We want to bring the person or persons to justice.”

Hero officer shot and killed during police pursuit: "Everybody loved him"
Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office

 

Deputy Gill is now home recovering with his family at his side. It’s not clear whether or not his return fire struck the suspect or their vehicle. 

“Given the gravity of the situation, he’s doing quite well,” he said.

Officials say once the suspect is apprehended, they will face premeditated attempted murder charges. Additionally, investigators are looking into whether the attack was motivated by hate, as Gill is a practicing Sikh and wears a turban. 

“We support him, and our department supports him,” Omori said. “It’s unknown whether it’s a hate crime or a crime of opportunity against law enforcement.”

Mercury News wrote that anyone with information about the shooting can contact the Sheriff’s Office at 408-808-4500, or  leave an anonymous tip at 408-808-4431.

 


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