Chief Lawrence Battiste of the Mobile Police Department in Alabama sadly reports the death of Officer Justin Billa.

Officer Billa was shot and killed as he and another officer attempted to contact and apprehend a murder suspect.

Officers received a call of a woman lying in the street. They determined the victim had been murdered and were able to quickly identify her. As a result, officers considered the woman’s ex-husband as a person of interest and set out to locate him. When officers found a residence associated with the man, they went to that house to contact him.

As officers arrived at the location, the suspect exited the residence and opened fire. Consequently, Billa was struck by gunfire from the suspect. Other officers returned fire as the man retreated into the house.

Officer Billa was transported to the University of South Alabama Medical Center where he died a short time after his arrival.

The department’s SWAT team responded to the scene. Finally, after a three-hour standoff, the suspect was located deceased inside the residence.

Officer Justin Billa served the Mobile Police Department for two years. He was assigned to the Third Precinct and was named Officer of the Month in June of 2016.

“We need to go back to helping people instead of just taking them to jail and creating bigger problems,” Billa said after receiving the award. “That’s my ideal of good policing and I feel like that’s what the chief is working towards.”

Billa also told FOX10 News in 2016 that he shares a moment with his wife every day before he goes to work.

“She tells me she loves me every day before I leave for work. And I make sure I do the same.”

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson issued the following statement Wednesday morning:

Today we mourn the loss of Officer Justin Billa who was killed last night while responding to a call for service. Officer Billa had been with the Mobile Police Department since 2016 and served our citizens with honor and distinction during that time. Officer Billa’s death affects more than just the Mobile Police Department. The death of a first responder in the line of duty is a loss that affects the entire city. This morning we grieve for the family and friends of Officer Billa who have lost a father, a son, a husband and a trusted colleague. I offer my prayers in addition to the full support of the city as we deal with this tragedy.

Billa’s wife, Erin, and one-year-old son, Taylor, survive him.

Officer Justin Billa is gone, but will never be forgotten. EOW: Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

Justin Billa

(Graphics courtesy Rose Borisow GrafX)