Huntsville, AL – A Huntsville police officer was fatally shot during a drug task force operation on Friday afternoon.
The incident began at about 4 p.m. on Dec. 6 near the corner of Oakwood Avenue and Levert Street Northwest while the drug task for was conducting an operation, AL.com reported.
Police said that when the suspect arrived at the location, he “drew a gun and immediately fired on the officer,” striking him directly in the heart.
Officers returned fire but did not hit the suspect, according to AL.com.
Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray told reporters at a press conference on Friday evening that the fallen officer was wearing a bullet-proof vest, but the bullet still managed to go through the vest and directly into the officer’s heart, AL.com reported.
The officer was transported to Huntsville Hospital where medical personnel tried to save him for more than an hour before he succumbed to his gunshot wound, according to Chief McMurray.
“The Huntsville Police Department has suffered a tremendous loss,” the chief said.
He has not yet identified the fallen officer but promised to do so on Saturday, AL.com reported.
The chief said late Friday that the suspect had been taken into custody.
Chief McMurray said the police department had a history with the suspect but did not release his name or any additional information, according to AL.com.
Huntsville City Council President Devyn Keith called the fallen officer “truly an example of an officer who gave beyond the badge.”
Keith offered condolences to the family and described the slain hero as an officer who loved his community, AL.com reported.
Huntsville Police Lieutenant Michael Johnson said the murdered officer was a long-time veteran of the police force who was assigned to the drug task force.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the Madison Police Department stepped in to answer police calls for the Huntsville Police Department after the shooting, AL.com reported.
“We want to make sure their officers have time to go and be with each other and grieve and do what they need to do and not have to worry about what’s going on out here," Madison County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Stacy Bates said. “Let us handle that.”
This marks the sixth officer killed in the line of duty in Alabama in 2019, according to AL.com.
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