Russell Mallette, a 38-year-old Nevada resident with a history in South Alabama, is dead after fleeing a suspected DUI traffic stop by a Gulf Shores police officer in West Beach about 4 a.m. this morning. Reportedly, Mallette ran into a nearby condo complex, struggled with and exchanged gunshots with officers before ultimately jumping or falling from one of the highest floors of the nine-story Ocean House condo building.
On Sept. 12, officials released the results of an autopsy concluding although Mallette suffered two non-life threatening gunshot wounds, he died as a result of injuries from the fall. No GSPD officers were injured.
According to his Facebook profile, Mallette is a 2004 graduate of Foley High School and 2009 graduate of the University of South Alabama. He moved to Colorado in 2013 and eventually to Nevada in 2019.
Early police accounts say Mallette ran into a condo stairwell and was followed by a Gulf Shores officer. Officials claim the officer found the suspect on the fifth floor, the two struggled, and Mallette took possession of the officer’s weapon and fired at the officer. Two other officers also responded.“Our officers made contact with the suspect on the fifth floor and at that time what I would characterize as an attack occurred,” Sgt. Jason Woodruff with the Gulf Shores Police Department said. “The suspect attacked the officer and a fight ensued. You had some responding officers who responded to back that officer up. The first officer arrived to see the suspect shooting at the original officer. That officer fired at the suspect who ultimately retreated further east into the building into a stairwell where he encountered another officer from Gulf Shores PD who fired at him.”
When the suspect fled higher up the staircase, the officers began setting up a perimeter.
“The suspect made his way up to the eighth or ninth floor at that point and ultimately they had lost contact with him for a short while,” Woodruff said. “At that point, we were setting up a perimeter and making sure residents and citizens that were staying there were back in their rooms when the suspect ultimately went over the balcony on the eighth or ninth floor.”
Officials said no officers were on the same floor at the time Mallette went over the balcony.
“He either fell or jumped,” District Attorney Bob Wilters said. “At this point in time we don’t know.”
Wilters said it’s too early in the investigation to make much more information available to the public.
“At this time, we will not be able to release any video or witness statements while the investigation is ongoing,” Wilters said. “That’s still under investigation as to how many shots were fired and how many officers were involved. It was one officer during the attack and then other officers arrived shortly after and set up a perimeter. We are happy that our officers were not injured during this attack and we do send our sympathy and condolences to Mr. Mallette’s family.”
Wilters said part of the ongoing investigation is to determine why Mallette ran from police in the first place.
“Our understanding was he was in this area to see family and friends,” Wilters said. “We do not have any outstanding warrants in Alabama that I’m aware of. There may have been some warrants outstanding somewhere else but as far as this area we don’t have any outstanding warrants. He’s been here in the past but that’s been years ago.”
The Baldwin County Major Crimes Unit has been called in to conduct the investigation which is standard procedure for officer-related shootings or deaths. Three officers are now on administrative leave until the investigation is complete. Wilters said the case will eventually be presented to a grand jury.
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