A former Alabama state trooper was shot dead by police after allegedly ambushing a district attorney outside his office and shooting him in the face.
Greg Griggers, the district attorney for Alabama’s 17th Judicial Circuit, was wounded by gunfire on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 15, in Demopolis, according to Michael Jackson, district attorney for Alabama’s 4th Judicial Circuit, AL.com reported.
Authorities have identified the suspect as Steve Smith, a drug task force investigator and former Alabama state trooper, according to NBC affiliate WVTM in Birmingham, Alabama.
A law enforcement officer shot the former trooper dead.
“Griggers got shot in the face and they killed the ex-state trooper who shot him,” Jackson told AL.com.
Demopolis Police Chief Tommie Reese confirmed during a press conference Thursday afternoon that Griggers had been shot, though he did not say what part of the DA’s body had been struck by gunfire. He also would not say what type of weapon was used by the gunman.
Griggers was released from the hospital late Thursday afternoon. The police chief called the victim’s injuries “minor” and the Miami Herald reported that Jackson said, “They say he’s going to recover.”
Alabama State Bureau of Investigation Capt. Jason Roberts told the press conference that the suspect opened fire on Griggers “ambush-style.” The DA was heading back from having lunch with several other law enforcement officers and was inside his vehicle when he was shot. Roberts told reporters that the shooting occurred at around 1 p.m. local time.
Jackson said Smith had previously faced questioning in connection with a 1996 incident in which an unidentified suspect shot up the home of Sumter County Circuit Judge Eddie Hardaway Jr. with a shotgun.
CBS reported that Smith once lived in a room at the home of Hardaway’s mother and knew the judge through work. He had been brought in for questioning after the shooting at Hardaway’s house because a witness reported seeing a car in the vicinity matching the description of Smith’s private vehicle. A witness had also placed Smith near the scene of the crime, according to CBS.
No one was ever charged in the shooting at the judge’s home.
It’s unclear when Smith left the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, as the agency refused to release any information about his employment history, CBS reported.
Griggers was initially appointed district attorney in 2003 and has been re-elected to the post since, CBS reported. He is the chief prosecutor for Marengo, Greene, and Sumter counties along the Mississippi state line.
U.S. District Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Jay E. Town released a statement Thursday, praising Griggers for his public service, and offering thoughts and prayers for the victim and his family.
“District Attorney Griggers is a dedicated public servant and an honorable man,” Town’s statement said. “This serves as yet another reminder of the perils and dangers that law enforcement at every level face daily.”