June 09, 2003
Two Ala. Police Officers, Dispatcher Killed
Officer Down: 3 Officers - [Fayette, Alabama]
PoliceOne.com Critical Alert
Fayette , Ala. -- A suspect being booked at a small town police station grabbed an officer's gun and opened fire early today, killing two officers and a dispatcher before fleeing in a police car, authorities said.
The dark blue Crown Victoria police cruiser was spotted about 3 1/2 hours later, just across the state line in Mississippi, and the driver was arrested, said Lowndes County, Miss., Sheriff's Deputy Tony Mulligan.
Mulligan identified the driver as Devan Moore, 18, of Jasper, Ala. a town about 30 miles northeast of Fayette.
The two Fayette officers and dispatcher were shot to death inside the one-story, brick police station, near the town's city hall, at about 5:30 a.m., said coroner Richard Nelson.
A firefighter who heard the shots from the fire station next door found the bodies and alerted authorities.
Moore was arrested at 9 a.m. about 12 miles west of the Alabama border.
Mayor Ray Nelson said the suspect had been handcuffed after being stopped about 3 a.m., but the handcuffs could have been removed during fingerprinting.
"There was a struggle," Nelson said, and an officer's weapon was taken by the suspect.
Nelson said the department had 14 officers before the shooting.
Fayette City Councilman Cedric Wilson identified the dead as Cpl. James Crump, Officer Arnold Strickland and dispatcher Ace Mealer. He said he was familiar with the suspect but didn't know what could have motivated the shooting.
He said the dead officers and dispatcher were alone in the police station at the time.
Moore's father, Kenneth Moore, told The Associated Press on Saturday that his son had a troubled history involving drugs and car theft but that he thought the young man had turned things around when he graduated from high school two weeks ago and announced he planned to join the Air Force.
At the time of the shooting, the suspect was being booked in connection with a stolen vehicle, said Fayette City Councilman David Brand.
PoliceOne sends our condolences to the Fayette, P.D. and the families of the officers killed in this tragic incident.
Be safe out there. These types of incidents can occur anywhere.