A man who was shot by Tuscaloosa Police officers early Wednesday morning pointed an assault rifle at them before they opened fire, investigators said in a press conference later that day.
Captain Jack Kennedy, the commander of the multi-agency Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit, said the incident began around 2 a.m. Wednesday, when employees at Harry’s Bar on Hargrove Road called police to report an unruly patron.
By the time officers arrived at the scene, the suspect, a 29-year-old while man whose identity has not yet been released, was leaving the area in a vehicle, driving erratically.
Kennedy said TPD officers attempted to pull the man over, but he refused to stop and eventually bailed out of the vehicle at the Bent Tree Apartments complex further down Hargrove Road, where he ran inside a residence there.
Officers continued to try to make contact with the man, who refused to come out of the apartment. Two roommates left the unit, though, and informed police that the man had armed himself with n AR-15 and a pistol and was acting erratically.
TPD’s Special Response Team was dispatched to the apartments and set up a perimeter while they worked to evacuate nearby residents and continued to try to make contact with the suspect inside.
Suddenly, Kennedy said, the man opened the door to the apartment and pointed the “fully-loaded” assault rifle at police officers, who opened fire and struck the suspect several times.
Emergency first-aid was rendered at the scene, Kennedy said, and the man was transported to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries. As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the suspect was still alive but in critical condition as doctors work to treat his injuries.
Brent Blankley, the chief of the Tuscaloosa Police Department, said four TPD officers fired shots at the man, and eight total officers are on administrative leave per department protocol while VCU detectives unaffiliated with the department investigate the shooting.
Kennedy said investigators are working with the district attorney’s office to bring charges against the man if he survives his injuries, and said the VCU would not identify the man by name until he was formally charged.
This story will be updated with more from the Wednesday afternoon press conference. Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more details as they become available.