Officer Justin Billa, a former officer of the month, was fatally injured in the city of Mobile, after trying to detain a man wanted in connection with a murder. The suspect was also killed, though reports said it was unclear whether he was killed by police or else took his own life.
The dead officer joined the force in January 2016 and won the Mobile Police Department’s Officer of the Month award in June 2016, Mobile Police Department Chief Lawrence Battiste told reporters, according to the Associated Press. The suspect was identified as Robert Hollie.
Reports said the incident began when a woman, Fonda Poellnitz, was found dead in the middle of the road on Tuesday night. Police had identified the woman’s husband, Robert Hollie, as a person of interest.
Reports said the when police went to his home in the city’s Toulminville district, Mr Hollie, barricaded himself inside and started firing at officers. Mr Billa was hit and died later in hospital. Mr Battiste said at least one officer fired shots at the scene, but it’s unknown if they struck Mr Hollie.
Fox News said the dead woman’s daughter, Octavia Poellnitz, said said there was was bad blood between her mother and and Mr Hollie. “He didn't love my momma,” she said.
Officers were seen early on Wednesday embracing and consoling each other outside of University of South Alabama Medical Centre before Mr Billa’s death was formally announced.
Local councillors Fred Richard and Levon Manzie, offered their prayers following the incident.
“I am concerned about the officer's family, and I'm concerned about the rest of the officers who on a daily basis put their lives on the lives for the city,” Mr Richard said
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