Tuscaloosa, AL – Tuscaloosa Police Department (TPD) Investigator Dornell Cousette was murdered in the line of duty on Monday night as he was attempting to arrest a wanted felon on a warrant.
The incident occurred at a residence near 33rd Avenue and Short 17th Street at approximately 6:25 p.m., after a bondsman notified TPD that he had located a wanted fugitive at that location, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Investigator Cousette, 40, responded to the residence and spotted the 20-year-old suspect running from the front porch area back into the home, Tuscaloosa Interim Police Chief Mitt Tubbs said, according to The Birmingham News.
“The suspect fled into the house and Officer Cousette followed,” Chief Tubbs told reporters. “Once inside the house, gunshots were exchanged.”
Despite having been shot in the face by the gunman, Investigator Cousette was able to return fire, wounding the suspect, The Birmingham News reported.
The suspect fled the scene, and later turned up at a hospital in Northport, where he was arrested.
He was subsequently transferred to the UAB Hospital Trauma Center, and remained hospitalized on Tuesday.
Investigator Cousette, a 13-year veteran-of-the-force, was transported to DCH Regional Medical Center in critical condition, and was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.
“Heroes come in many different forms,” Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said, according to The Birmingham News. “Tonight, one of our heroes has died in the line of duty.”
Investigator Cousette, a U.S. Army veteran, leaves behind two daughters and a fiancé, Chief Tubbs said.
He was a great officer. Everybody loved him,” the chief continued. “You could tell by the number of people that arrived at the hospital when we got the news.”
"It’s terribly difficult,'' Chief Tubbs said, according to The Birmingham News. “Every time you hear the phone ring, you just hope it’s not this call. And unfortunately, today it was this call.”
On Tuesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a statement and ordered that flags be lowered to half-mast until Investigator Cousette’s memorial service.
Ivey referred to the veteran officer as one of Alabama’s “heroes,” and called his murder a “senseless act of violence.”
“Two beautiful children lost their father,” the governor said in the statement. “A soon-to-be-bride lost her fiancé. The Tuscaloosa community lost a protector and 13-year veteran to the force. Truly, Alabama has lost one of her heroes, Dornell Cousette.”
Investigator Cousette made the “ultimate sacrifice” in order to protect the community, Ivey said.
“We cannot take for granted the tremendous sacrifices our men and women in law enforcement make each and every day in order to keep us safe,” the governor continued. “Because of Officer Cousette’s brave call to action, the felon he pursued now remains in custody. Officer Cousette laid down his life in service to the people of Tuscaloosa."
A fundraising campaign has been established to help Investigator Cousette’s family in the wake of their loss.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Tuscaloosa Police Department Investigator Dornell Cousette, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Investigator Cousette, your life mattered.