AUBURN, Ala. – A suspect linked to the Friday shooting of a police officer in Auburn, Ala., died in a fire at the apartment where he had later barricaded himself, according to reports.
The suspect, identified as Christopher James Wallace, 38, reportedly shot the police officer multiple times around 5:30 p.m. when the officer was responding to a report of a robbery in progress at a local drug store, AL.com reported.
The officer had pulled over Wallace’s vehicle in connection with the case, according to the report.
The wounded officer was transported to the East Alabama Medical Center and listed in stable condition Friday night.
“We are certainly encouraged that he’s going to make a recovery. We hope the community’s prayers and thoughts are with him to get him through it,” Capt. Lorenzo Dorsey of the Auburn Police Division told WSFA-TV.
After the shooting, the suspect drove off with an unidentified woman passenger, and police determined they had traveled to a relative’s apartment, according to AL.com.
The suspect traded gunfire with police officers who tried to enter. Two apartment occupants who were not involved in the case later left the apartment and were detained.
Police then used tear gas and “distraction devices” in an attempt to draw out the suspect and the woman, but they remained inside, AL.com reported.
“Shortly after, a fire erupted inside the apartment. Officers continued to secure the area; however, the suspects never emerged from the apartment, which became fully engulfed in fire. The suspects are believed to have perished in the fire,” police told the news outlet.
An investigation is continuing, the report said.
Friday’s wounding of the Auburn police officer came just weeks after the shooting death of Birmingham police Sgt. Wytasha Carter on Jan. 13. A suspect identified as Jeremy Elwin Owens, 31, has been charged in connection with Carter’s death.