A SWAT team with the Mobile Police Department killed an armed man following a nearly two-hour standoff in the waning hours of Valentine’s Day.
Though few details have been released, MPD Chief Lawrence Battiste has identified the deceased suspect as 41-year-old Donald Fulton, who police say allegedly threatened to commit suicide several times before being fatally shot by a member of the department’s tactical response unit.
The incident took place at 5651 Renn Street in Mobile. Battiste said Fulton had “run his mother and brother out of the residence with a weapon” and was threatening to commit suicide when police arrived at his home in response to a reported domestic incident.
Though there were no active hostages, Battiste said MPD brought in a hostage negotiating team to talk Fulton down, which seemed to work initially before things went south and the standoff ended in gunfire.
“At some point the hostage negotiators got Fulton to place the weapon down as they were communicating with him. They could see he was not armed at that time, so SWAT thought it was a great time for us to make entry into the residence, Battiste said. “As the team made entry into the residence, Fulton armed himself again and fired multiple shots at the SWAT team.”
When an officer returned fire, Fulton was struck fatally and died at the scene. No members of Fulton’s family nor officers were injured during the incident, according to MPD. Police have yet to disclose how many rounds were fired, how many times Fulton was struck or which officer(s) shot him.
According to police, both Fulton and officers who returned fire were using handguns at the time.
Battiste said MPD would release the name of the officer involved in a few days, though he did say he’d been placed on administrative leave for the time being. When MPD’s Internal Affairs Unit concludes its investigation, the department will turn the findings over to District Attorney Ashley Rich’s office.
As for body camera footage, Battiste said there is a recording of the initial response by MPD patrol officers but there would be no footage of the actual firefight because SWAT team members are not outfitted with body cameras. He also said it’s not the first time MPD has responded to Fulton’s home.
“We’re still researching it, but early indications show that we’ve had at least three responses to that location since November of last year,” Battiste added. “There may be some additional responses called by area residents, so we have to look at it more thoroughly to be sure.”
According to records at Mobile Metro Jail, Fulton was last arrested in 2013 for driving under the influence, but he has several other misdemeanor charges on his record dating back to 1998.