Officer Shot Multiple Times, Suspects Die in Subsequent Fire

February 18, 2019 Updated: February 18, 2019

An Alabama police officer who was shot multiple times after responding to reports of an armed robbery was recovering Feb. 16, while two suspects are believed to have died in a fire following a shootout.

The incident began about 5:30 p.m. local time Friday, the Opelika-Auburn News reported.

Auburn Officer Justin Sanders stopped a vehicle that fit the description of one driven by the suspects. As Sanders approached, police said the man opened fire, striking the 30-year-old officer at least four times.

Sanders, five-year veteran of the department, was hospitalized in stable condition, Police Capt. Lorenza Dorsey said.

Law enforcement officers surround the Dollar General
Law enforcement officers surround the Dollar General parking lot, located in the 1100 block of Opelika Road in Auburn, Ala, on Feb. 15, 2019. (Emily Enfinger/Opelika-Auburn News via AP)

The suspects fled and an ensuing manhunt tracked them to a nearby apartment complex.

Dorsey said heavily armed officers in tactical gear surrounded the building. Gunfire then erupted, filling the air with noise and smoke. Residents from several blocks away heard the commotion, while nearby Auburn University issued warnings and a lockdown for the veterinary school.

Residents fled the scene as the gunfire continued. “Get back! Bullets are flying everywhere!” one officer warned bystanders.

“It sounded like fireworks going off,” one man told the Opelika-Auburn News.

A woman told the newspaper when she heard the gunfire she took cover in her bathtub.

Officers tossed canisters of tear gas into the apartment, which caught fire, Dorsey said. The two suspects refused to exit. Authorities said their bodies were later found in the rubble.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris identified one of the suspects as Christopher James Wallace, 38. The identity of the other person, a woman, has not been released.

Law enforcement officers stand at the corner
Law enforcement officers stand at the corner Stonegate Drive and Wire Road in Auburn, Ala.,on Feb. 15, 2019. (Emily Enfinger/Opelika-Auburn News via AP)

Two people believed to be relatives of Wallace exited the apartment and were taken into custody as officers were trying to get the suspects from the apartment. After the fire was extinguished, authorities found the suspects’ bodies in a back room of the apartment.

Harris said the bodies will be taken to the medical examiner’s office at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Montgomery for an autopsy to determine the cause of death and positive identification.

Oklahoma Officer Cleared Over Shooting, As Video Shows Suspect Pulled Handgun

An Oklahoma police officer has been cleared of wrongdoing for shooting a suspect who drew a handgun and pointed it at the officer’s face.

The suspect survived and was treated for gunshots. He was also charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on top of the charge of armed robbery he had been trying to flee.

The district attorney cleared Sergeant Joshua Lesher after a full investigation, and on Jan. 24 the dramatic footage caught by the squad-car dashcam was released.

The 37-year-old suspect Layland Ted Lewis, Jr. was wanted in Cleveland County for Armed Robbery at the time of the incident.

On Dec. 18, 2018,  Lewis was riding a moped through the streets of Noble, when Sergeant Lesher noticed that his passenger looked underage with no protective gear and initiated a traffic stop.

Layland Ted Lewis Jr., an armed robbery suspect who was shot three times by a police officer after pointing a handgun at the officer’s face in Noble, Oklahoma on Dec. 18, 2018. (Cleveland County)

In the full video release, the moped pulled up onto the driveway of a house seen later in the video, and the officer went over to talk to the driver as the passenger briefly went inside the house, then came out again.

Lewis gave the officer a false name—Carl Huff—according to local paper Norman Script.

When the name Huff didn’t check out, Lesher prepared to detain him.

“As Lesher attempted to properly identify Lewis, Lewis pulled a handgun from his jacket and pointed it at Lesher’s face,” read a statement by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OBSI). “Lesher deflected Lewis’ handgun, drew his own firearm and fired, hitting Lewis three times.”

Epoch Times reporter Simon Veazey contributed to this article