Bibb County Deputy Sheriff Brad Johnson died at University Hospital in Birmingham on Thursday afternoon. Investigators said Johnson was shot on Wednesday by repeat felon Austin Patrick Hall while the deputy was investigating a stolen car.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) issued a statement mourning Johnson’s line-of-duty sacrifice.
“Today, all of Alabama grieves the loss of one of our heroes in blue, Bibb County Deputy Brad Johnson,” Ivey said. “At only 32 years old, he served in law enforcement for several years and was engaged to be married. He will be remembered as a hero.
“He will not only be called a hero for protecting his community but also through his organ donations. Our entire state is praying for his family, his fiancée and fellow law enforcement officers.”
Law enforcement officials said Johnson’s family is donating his organs. Bibb County Sheriff Jody Wade said Johnson will “continue to save lives.”
Bibb County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Poole was also shot at the scene, but his injuries were not life-threatening. He has been released from the hospital.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) released a statement following the line-of-duty death of Deputy Johnson.
“Alabama feels the heavy loss of another law enforcement hero who gave his life while putting his sworn duty to protect the public ahead of his own personal safety,” said Marshall. “Bibb County Deputy Sheriff Brad Johnson and fellow Deputy Chris Poole were each met with gunfire as they engaged an armed suspect who was driving a stolen vehicle off of Alabama Highway 25 on Golfer’s Trail, in rural Bibb County around 4:00 pm Wednesday.
“Both deputies were transported by ambulance to UAB Medical Center in Birmingham where they received emergency treatment. Sadly, Deputy Johnson never recovered from his serious head injury and was removed from life support Thursday afternoon. I would like to ask all Alabamians to pause and reflect on the loss of Deputy Brad Johnson and to pray for his family. As Bibb County Sheriff Jody Wade noted, Deputy Johnson will continue to save lives through organ donations. Deputy Johnson, age 32, was a 7-year veteran of the Bibb County Sheriff’s office. He is survived by his fiancée, two children and his parents.
“Deputy Chris Poole, age 30, was released from the hospital and is thankfully recovering from his injuries,” Marshall continued. “Shooting suspect, Austin Patrick Hall, a convicted felon with a lengthy record of violent offenses, was captured after an approximate 16-hour manhunt. My office assisted in the multiple agency effort to capture Hall and bring him to justice. My office is closely scrutinizing the policies that allowed for a violent offender like Hall to walk free. The justice system failed these officers, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that doesn’t happen again.”
The suspect in the shooting, Austin Hall, 26, was captured Thursday morning after he was found hiding inside a tent, Jackson said.
Hall will be charged with two counts of capital murder — one for Johnson's death and another for shooting into a vehicle resulting in a death and one count of attempted murder for the shooting of the other deputy, according to Jackson.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said that Hall never should have been released from prison given his dozens of convictions and pending charges.
The Etowah County Sheriff’s Department said on social media, “Sheriff Horton and the staff at Etowah County Sheriff’s Office send our deepest condolences to our friends at the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office over the death of Deputy Bradley Johnson who was killed when shot in the line of duty this week. We ask that you keep Deputy Johnson, his family, friends, and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office in your prayers.”
Sheriff Horton stated, “Our hearts are with the families and the entire department during this most difficult time.”
The Prattville Police Department wrote, “The Prattville Police Department sends our prayers to the family of Deputy Bradley Johnson of the Bibb County Sheriff's Office. He was mortally wounded in the line of duty yesterday and is currently on life support so that he may continue to save lives through the organ donor process. The person responsible for this has since been captured and will hopefully face justice for this unspeakable act of cowardice and evil. Deputy Johnson, your sacrifice for your community will be forever honored. You are our brother in arms and we stand with the Bibb County Sheriff's Office during this time of loss. Rest easy, Deputy Johnson... we have the watch.”
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Secretary Hal Taylor released a statement mourning Deputy Johnson and pledging resources to help the Bibb County Sheriff’s Department.
“It is a solemn day among the entire law enforcement community within Alabama as we all mourn the tragic and heartbreaking loss of Deputy Johnson,” Sec. Taylor said. “On behalf of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, I would like to extend my deepest and sincerest condolences to Deputy Johnson’s family, his colleagues with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and everyone that knew and loved him. Truly, Bibb County and the State of Alabama has lost one of its heroes.
“Along with sharing our sincerest condolences, we pledge to make all resources available to the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office as well as the surrounding community as they grieve and cope with this unfortunate and heartbreaking situation."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.
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