Thu. 8:58 a.m.: Birmingham officer shot, suspect killed in downtown shootout

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say an Alabama police officer has been shot multiple times by a suspected armed robber who was then killed in a shootout in downtown Birmingham.

Birmingham Police Chief Patrick D. Smith tells news outlets officers were responding to a reported robbery at a convenience store Wednesday night when they spotted the male suspect leaving the scene.

Smith says the officers attempted to stop the man, who pulled out a gun and repeatedly shot Officer Cullen Stafford. AL.com reports Stafford was rushed to a hospital by fellow officers. Other officers responding to Stafford’s call for help were met with gunfire upon arrival.

Smith says the man fired a handgun from several locations that stretched across at least five city blocks, ending with a final shootout in which the man was killed.

Stafford was hospitalized and was out of surgery by 10 p.m., just two hours before his 36th birthday. Sgt. Johnny Williams says the surgery went well and Stafford is expected to undergo additional surgeries as he recovers. The police chief says a second officer was injured in a fall, but he was in good condition as of Wednesday night. Several officers kept vigil at the hospital.

WVTM-TV reports Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said the shooting was a reminder of the sacrifice by law enforcement officers.

Officials didn’t immediately release the name of the slain man, whose body remained at the scene late Wednesday.

AL.com reports Stafford and another officer were seriously injured in June 2017 when fleeing homicide suspects crashed into their patrol cruiser.