A man involved in a shootout with police Friday morning is in critical condition, and if he recoveries from his injuries, the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office has more than one attempted murder charge waiting on him.
Ryan Burkhardt, 32, of Mobile, was shot several times after opening fire on Mobile police officers during an investigation by the Mobile County Street Enforcement Narcotics Team in Grand Bay in the early hours of April 1.
Police say he fired the weapon several times, striking an undercover officer twice. The officer was transported from the scene by a Mobile County sheriff’s deputy to the University of South Alabama Medical Center and is currently in stable condition.
On Friday afternoon, a public information officer with the MPD released a statement saying Burkhardt was in critical condition and that “attempted murder warrants” had been issued against him.
According to county jail records, Burkhardt has previous charges for possession and use of drugs and drug paraphernalia, public intoxication and harassing communications. He has also been previously listed as a fugitive from justice — a charge stemming from crimes committed in Mississippi.
While the officer whom Burkhardt shot has not been identified, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson has already issued a statement saying “it appears he’ll be fine.” Stimpson visited the officer’s family in the hospital where he is recovered Friday morning.
“Right now, we’re still waiting for additional information,” Stimpson said in a video statement released Friday morning. “The good news is, his family is here, and it appears that the officer will recover. We’re certainly grateful for his service, and our prayers are with he and his family.”
Updated at 5:14 p.m.
Mobile Police Chief James Barber held a press conference at 4:30 p.m. on Friday to give updates on the situation.
He told members of the press that the officer was still in stable condition in the intensive care unit after being struck by gunfire once in the lower abdomen and once in the thigh. He added the status of Ryan Burkhardt’s condition had not changed either, which has been listed as “critical but stable” since this morning.
Barber did give some extra details on the “lengthy investigation” that led authorities to Burkhardt, which he said focused on the illegal sale of firearms and crystal methamphetamine and involved several agencies like the Prichard Police Department, Mobile County Sheriff’s Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
According to Barber, the incident began shortly after 2 a.m. when officers confronted Burkhardt at a Waffle House in Grand Bay. While attempting to elude police on a motorcycle, Burkhardt lost control and proceeded to flee on foot.
At least five officers were able to catch up to him in a field behind a service station in the area, where he was wrestled to the ground.
“He produced a semiautomatic handgun, and around 20 rounds were exchanged between officers and the suspect,” Barber said. “Much of the gunfire was ineffective because the suspect was wearing body armor as well as a concealed weapon with extra magazines.”
Asked if Burkhardt might have been expecting police, Baber said he couldn’t know, but did say, “there’s an Inherent violence that follows the drug trade, and this guy was prepared for violence.”
The investigation continued at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, when officers from several local and federal agencies executed a search warrant at Burkhardt’s residence on Highway 90. There, officers say they found another four handguns and an explosive powder.
According to Debra Tillman, chief assistant district attorney for Mobile county, Burkhardt has already been charged with five counts of attempted murder, attempting to elude police and carrying a weapon as a convicted felon. She also said other charges are possible.
Because the work the MCSNT performs is largely undercover and includes the controlled purchase of narcotics, Barber said the department has no plans to release the identities of the officers involved or the officer who was injured.