HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – An Alabama police officer has died and another was critically wounded after being shot by a man who barricaded himself in an apartment, authorities said.
The two officers with the Huntsville Police Department were shot Tuesday afternoon, as they responded to a report of a woman being shot at an apartment complex, Huntsville Deputy Police Chief Michael Johnson told news outlets. The man fired at the two officers, hitting them both. He then barricaded himself inside an apartment for over an hour, before being captured, Johnson said.
The officers were transported to a hospital, where one died from his injuries and the other underwent emergency surgery, city officials said in a news release. The female shooting victim was taken to the hospital for treatment. Her injuries were non-life-threatening.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency identified the slain officer as Officer Garrett Crumby.
“This is a devastating loss for our department, the Huntsville community and the state of Alabama,” Huntsville Police Chief Kirk Giles said in a statement. “As we grieve with our fallen officer’s family, we have another officer fighting for his life. Please keep all our officers and the entire department in your prayers.”
Crumby was a three-year veteran of the Huntsville Police Department, and previously served for eight years with the Tuscaloosa Police Department, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said. He and the other officer were ambushed by an armed suspect when they arrived at the scene of the domestic violence call, Marshall said.
“My son was born to be in public service,” Crumby’s mother, Jan Sherman, told WVTM. “It was Garrett’s dream as a little boy to give back." She said her son was a volunteer firefighter before he turned to police work.
"He was a gentle soul, the kind of police officer other officers wanted to be,” she said.
Crumby loved the outdoors and the city where he worked, Johnson said in a press conference Wednesday.
"He was also known for being the caregiver personality. He cared for the citizens he dealt with. He also cared for his family,” Johnson said, adding that Crumby once took an extended leave to care for a family member. He was known among his squad as “the sweet tooth guy,” as he had a penchant for coming to roll call with a pastry or Subway sandwich and a caffeinated concoction of Monster energy drink and coffee.
Officer Albert Morin, the other officer struck by gunfire, remains in the hospital in serious condition, but is expected to survive, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Hal Taylor said.
The police chief on Wednesday declined to expound on the specifics of the shooting, saying it is under investigation by state law enforcement.
The suspect in the shooting was apprehended a little over an hour after the officers were shot, according to city officials. He was transported to the hospital for medical treatment before being taken to jail.
Jail records show that Juan Robert Laws, 24, was arrested by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and booked into the Madison County Jail on a charge of capital murder of a law enforcement officer. He was being held without bond. A court-appointed lawyer for Laws did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Officers on Tuesday night huddled in prayer outside the hospital where the officer was taken and later gathered around the hearse that was called to transport his body for autopsy.
“This is a painful night for the city of Huntsville and for our police family,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said. “We are heartbroken. Words cannot express our loss. We have been overwhelmed by the show of love and support from our community, and we stand united with our police officers and their families in this tragic moment.”