Demopolis, AL – A former Alabama state trooper was fatally shot by police on Thursdays afternoon, after he brazenly shot a district attorney in the face outside the prosecutor’s office.
The incident occurred at approximately 1 p.m., as Alabama’s 17th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Greg Griggers was sitting in his vehicle after returning from having lunch with several law enforcement officers, The Birmingham News reported.
The “ambush-style” attack was carried out by former Alabama State Trooper Steven Smith, Alabama State Bureau of Investigation Captain Jason Roberts said during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
Smith opened fire through the prosecutor’s window, shattering the glass and wounding the prosecutor, The New York Times reported.
Two officers standing nearby then opened fire on the gunman.
“Griggers got shot in the face and they killed the ex-state trooper who shot him,” Alabama’s 4th Judicial Circuit Court District Attorney Michael Jackson told The Birmingham News.
“The guy was waiting,” Jackson said, according to The New York Times. “It looks like he was waiting to shoot.”
Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, WIAT reported.
Griggers was received “minor” injuries as a result of the attack, and was treated and released at a local hospital, Demopolis Police Chief Tommie Reese said during the press conference, according to The Birmingham News.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Greg and his family,” U.S. Attorney Jay Town said in a statement, according to WIAT. “District Attorney Griggers is a dedicated public servant and an honorable man. This serves as yet another reminder of the perils and dangers that law enforcement at every level face daily.”
The investigation is ongoing, and a possible motive for the shooting has not been determined, Capt. Roberts said, according to the Northwest Florida Daily News.
It wasn’t the first time police had investigated Smith, who was hired as a state trooper in 1982.
In 1996, a suspect opened fire with a shotgun at the residence of Sumter County Circuit Court Judge Eddie Hardaway, then sped off in a white Mitsubishi, The Birmingham News reported.
Smith, who owned a white Mitsubishi at the time, was questioned as a potential suspect in the shooting, but the case was never solved, according to The New York Times.
He openly criticized the Alabama Bureau of Investigation regarding the inquiry, and spoke to media outlets about his views, despite being given orders from his supervisors to stay quiet.
When Smith continued to publicly criticize the investigation, he was fired from his position.
He challenged his termination, but it was upheld by the Court of Civil Appeals in 1998.
According to Patrick Mahaney, who was the Department of Public Safety Assistant Attorney General at the time of the drive-by shooting at the judge’s home, Giggers was not appointed to the district attorney position until 2003, and had no connection to the 1996 incident.