Officer shot during traffic stop (as cities push to disarm officers during traffic stops)


DOTHAN, AL – Officials say a suspect is deceased and a Dothan Police officer is hospitalized after reportedly being shot during what was described as a “routine” traffic stop on April 19th.

The incident was said to have occurred at approximately 12:30 p.m. on April 19th in the area of Third Avenue and Trim Street.  

Dothan Police Chief Will Benny stated that one of his officers, who has not been identified by name as of this writing, had pulled over a motorist for allegedly not having a visible license plate.

When the officer approached the vehicle in question, the officer was said to have noticed a weapon inside of the vehicle. The driver reportedly fled in the vehicle thereafter.

The unidentified officer pursued the suspect vehicle for a short distance until the suspect vehicle had stopped at a nearby intersection. At that time, the driver reportedly exited the vehicle while in possession of a firearm.

Chief Benny stated that the officer attempted to use their Taser on the suspect, before coming under fire and getting shot:

“Officers attempted to use a Taser to incapacitate the suspect. The suspect began firing at an officer and struck him in the left leg. The officer and his backup fired at the suspect, ending the confrontation.”

The unnamed officer was said to have been doing relatively well after undergoing surgery. The deceased male suspect’s identity has not been revealed by officials as of this writing.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further updates to this developing investigation.

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Recently, Law Enforcement Today shared a report about an officer in Missouri that was seriously burned after reportedly being attacked with a Molotov cocktail earlier in April. 

Here’s that previous report. 


STE. GENEVIEVE, MO – A 34-year-old man is facing charges in connection with a police officer that was seriously burned by lit Molotov cocktail that was thrown at him.

Officials say the suspect is being held in the Ste. Genevieve County Jail with no bond.

According to Ste. Genevieve Police Chief Eric Bennett, 36-year-old Officer Pete Unverferth had responded to the St. Jude subdivision at approximately 1:00 a.m. on April 16th, after a local had reportedly called 911 regarding a subject revving the engine of a motorcycle.

By the time Officer Unverferth had arrived in the area where the call was placed, the officer had made his way up to the driveway of a home when he was allegedly approached from behind by 34-year-old Tyson Paul Heise.

Officials say that the suspect was carrying a lit Molotov cocktail when approaching Officer Unverferth from the rear. The officer reportedly unholstered his Taser and commanded Heise to drop the Molotov cocktail.

Chief Bennett said that an altercation transpired thereafter between the officer and the suspect, which resulted in Officer Unverferth deploying his Taser and Heise allegedly throwing the Molotov cocktail at the officer.

Officer Unverferth was said to have been hit in the arm with the incendiary device allegedly hurled by the suspect, with Chief Bennett stating that the officer proceeded to “stop, drop and roll,” in order to put out the fire that spread across his body.

The officer was said to have suffered severe burns to his arms and legs as a result of the attack.

According to Chief Bennett, family members of the suspect came to the officer’s aid after the flames broke out. Heise’s sister, Erica, recounted the harrowing moments that when she helped Officer Unverferth:

“I panicked and I didn’t know what to do. I ran inside, got a pot of water and as I’m standing there filling it up, it felt like 10 minutes went by. So I just brought out what I had and that’s when he was under the water and I just threw it on him.”

The injured officer was reportedly airlifted to an area hospital for treatment, with officials saying that while Officer Unverferth’s injuries are not life-threatening, he will require surgery.

Investigators that were working the scene of the incident were said to have recovered a “busted and burned glass bottle,” with the neck of the bottle reportedly still intact and the remnants of a “charred” cloth were also present.

The suspect’s parents reportedly informed police that Heise had previously threatened their lives and described their son as being” homicidal and suicidal.”

Heise’s sister effectively referred to her brother as something akin to a proverbial ticking time bomb:

“We knew something bad was going to happen if he didn’t get help. We all seen it coming. Something or somebody was going to get hurt or something was going to happen.”

Keith, Heise’s stepfather, said that his stepson has “been failed by the system,” when remarking on several failed attempts to get Heise the needed mental health services:

“It’s a sad situation. We tried to get him help time and time again before something bad happened.”

Heise was reportedly charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action in connection with the incident.

Officer Unverferth was described by Chief Bennett as a 13-year law enforcement veteran, while having spent the past nine years with the Ste. Genevieve Police Department and highlighting the officer’s time within the department’s DARE program:

“He’s a very likeable officer, he was our DARE officer for a while so he has really good rapport in the city. He’s been here for nine years and has always done a really good job for our department.”

It’s unclear when Officer Unverferth will be released from the hospital following his injury.

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