An attempt by the Mobile Police Department to serve warrants at a house in West Mobile Thursday morning resulted in a gunfight with officers that killed a Mobile man and injured his mother.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, MPD Chief Lawrence Battiste said the department’s SWAT team assisted the juvenile division in serving a search warrant at a home at 7200 Lakeview Drive E. at about 5:45 a.m. The SWAT team was called in for this assignment, Battiste said, because officials had determined at a threat assessment meeting that it was necessary.
The arrest warrants were for brothers Treyh Webster, 18, and Tyhree Webster, 22, for charges of reckless endangerment and intimidating a witness for an alleged incident in which a robbery victim was threatened and shot at, police said in a statement.
When officers entered the home a person in the living room area began shouting out “twelve,” Battist said. The term “twelve” is well-known slang for police.
Police came in contact with a second subject before being met by a third subject who allegedly began shooting at officers. Battiste said officers deployed “flashbang” grenades, but when the shooting didn’t stop, they returned fire.
The gunfight resulted in the death of Treyh Webster and an injury to his mother. Webster’s mother was shot in the foot and is recovering from surgery, Battiste said. The mother was in stable condition at the time of the press briefing, he said.
Battiste said it’s too early in the investigation to confirm how many rounds each side spent, but investigators believe the bullet that hit Webster’s mother came from the 18-year-old’s gun.
In addition to the arrest of Tyhree Webster, a 17-year-old juvenile was also arrested for possession of a firearm and was sent to Strickland Youth Center, Battiste said. Officers recovered a total of five firearms as a result of the search warrant.
The shooting is being investigated by the Mobile Police Department’s internal affairs and homicide units. Once the criminal investigation is complete, the findings will be turned over to Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich’s office.
The officer who shot Webster is a 10-year veteran of the force, Battiste said.
This is the second officer-involved shooting in about a week for MPD and another where officers on scene were not wearing body cameras. While Battiste said MPD had body camera footage from a nearby patrol officer in the shooting of Edward Bittner late last month, the officer who fired the fatal shots was a supervisor and was not required to wear one.
SWAT team members involved in Thursday’s shooting are also not required to wear body cameras, but that policy is about to change, Executive Director of Public Safety James Barber told reporters at the press conference. Currently, patrol officers wear body cameras.
In fact, Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s administration has begun looking at purchasing enough cameras for every sworn officer in the department, Barber said. Officials, he said, are looking for money in the current budget to accomplish that.
Councilman Fred Richardson, who is one of two candidates running against Stimpson for mayor this year, said he would not give up until every officer was forced to wear a body camera and have it on during interactions with the public.
“That’s why we spent the money,” Richardson said of the council’s original intent with buying the cameras. “It’s for their benefit because the public will say ‘he did this, or he did that,’ but with cameras we’ll know. I don’t know why they would not want to have cameras.”
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