SELMA, Ala. – In what appears to be a setup, a sniper ambushed a Selma police officer over the weekend.

Investigators now believe the officer who was shot was followed by four suspects starting from Selmont all the way to Selma where it ended at the intersection of Broad Street and Furniss Avenue.

“This demonstrates the worst fear,” said Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier.

Collier feared this might happen after weeks of dealing with his officers being shot at. No one had been hit, until now, WSFA reported.

“He was shot with a high-powered rifle. We recovered multiple casings,” Collier said.

However, the chief declined to identify the patrol officer but said he is a 10-year veteran.

Once the officer realized he was being ambushed, his sped away. However, with his injuries, he lost control of his police unit and crashed a block away.

Selma police officer

A Selma police officer crashed his unit after being ambushed and shot by a sniper. (Screenshot WSFA broadcast)

The chief says one round hit the officer but it missed vital organs.

“He was shot in the chest. He had Kevlar on. Our vests are not rifle-rated and as you know we’re seeing so many rifles. The Kevlar slowed it down but it still penetrated,” Collier said.

State investigators have assumed the investigation.

For much of the morning, SBI personnel used cones marking the spots where they may have found evidence to help piece this crime together. Four suspects were likely involved, according to the chief.

“This is why in law enforcement it’s a fatal funnel. It is set up to shoot from different sides and different angles where they are not in each other’s crossfire, it’s a very difficult thing to survive,” Collier said.

“After learning the officer had that vest on, the vest was not rifle-graded. We’ve been pushing for the last year,” said Selma Mayor Darrio Melton.

The injured police officer radioed for help. As a result, a fellow officer rushed him to Vaughn Medical Center in Selma. From there, he was airlifted to a hospital in Birmingham. He is listed in stable condition.

Consequently, Chief Collier is angry.

“I’ve been pissed off over the last several weeks over this,” he said.

The chief is promising to take the motto “to protect and to serve” to a new level starting right now.

“I only have one way to respond to this and that is with overwhelming force and you’re going to see that today. I have asked for assistance from agencies from all over the state,” said Collier.

Collier tells WSFA 12 News he is not aware of any additional injuries the officer suffered as a result of crashing his Ford Crown Victoria police unit.