Officials have confirmed that a Mobile County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man this afternoon while responding to a robbery at the Walmart shopping center in Semmes.
Capt. Paul Burch said the incident began when MCSO dispatchers received a call about a robbery in progress at the Walmart around 1 p.m. A deputy, who was reportedly in the parking lot already, responded and encountered a suspect coming out of the store and attempted to arrest him.
According to Burch, the officer used a taser after the suspect refused to comply with orders, but he continued to advance upon the officer and eventually produced a clawhammer — a claim that is consistent with what some purported eyewitnesses reported on social media earlier this afternoon.
“The deputy told him to drop it, but he refused and said: ‘I’m going to kill you or you’re going to kill me,’” Burch told Lagniappe. “The deputy shot him and he’s deceased.”
Burch also confirmed the deputy was not injured during the altercation.
The incident only involved the suspect, a 34-year-old white male, and one deputy — neither of whom MCSO has identified at this time. Burch said the deceased suspect had a Mississippi driver’s license, as well paperwork that indicated ties to the Semmes area.
Investigators are currently working to notify the next of kin.
Photographs from the scene showed a body covered with a sheet and there was still a large police presence at the shopping center as recently as 2 p.m. Burch said “at least half a dozen” witnesses saw the incident, including one who recorded at least part of the altercation on a cell phone.
According to Burch, MCSO will investigate the shooting and a parallel investigation will be conducted by the office’s internal affairs unit. Any findings will be turned over to the Mobile County District Attorney’s office to determine whether the shooting was justifiable under the circumstances.
The shooting occurred on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and in fact, many MCSO officials left a law enforcement prayer luncheon early in order to respond to the scene of the shooting.
The incident in Semmes today is also the third officer-involved shooting MCSO has been connected to over the past month.
On Dec. 9, Corporal J.T. Thornton and deputies Nathaniel Kersten and Owen Bradley shot and killed 66-year-old Terrance Edward White after he opened fire on several officers that were responding to a domestic disturbance at a house on Lott Road in Semmes.
Three weeks ago, a woman in Wilmer was shot in her own home during an MCSO narcotics operation involving multiple agencies. However, the officers who actually fired the shots on Dec. 19 worked for the Baldwin County Sheriff’s office and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations.
That incident is still being investigated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), which to this point, has released very little information about the incident to the public.
Lagniappe will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
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