Blount County Sheriff Mark Moon said he plans to release body camera video of a fatal officer-involved shooting as soon as the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) completes its investigation, but he doesn't know when that will be.
The shooting happened Wednesday. December 7, in west Blount County near the city of Hayden. Steven Anthony Bentley, 34, was shot after a deputy and a Hayden police officer opened fire outside a home on Dogwood Lane.
The officers were on the scene to do a welfare check after a concerned person called 911 and told them a woman was being beaten and held against her will. The deputy went to the home, and because the home was close to Hayden, the Hayden officer assisted. After seven minutes of talking through the door, the officers were able to get the woman out of the home and confirmed the claims of a beating were likely true. She had wounds to her head and face.
Bentley, who was also in the home, eventually came out of the house, but things quickly took a dangerous turn, Moon said. After coming out of the house with his hands behind his back, Moon said within seconds, Bentley produced a handgun and pointed it at the woman. Moon said that in the video, Bentley is heard saying, "Kill me! Kill me dead!"
After six verbal commands from the officers, the suspect refused to put down the weapon, and both the deputy and the officer shot him. Moon said they immediately rendered aid but were unable to communicate with 911 dispatch because of a radio failure. Despite the radio failure, officers were able to call and get medical personnel and transport on the scene.
The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, and the woman was taken to a local hospital for treatment of her head and face wounds.
"It was an amazing example of professionalism and duty that these law enforcement officers displayed and exemplified on the scene," Moon said during a press conference.
Bentley was well-known to law enforcement in the area and in surrounding counties. According to court records, he has previous charges, including attempted murder, domestic violence, strangulation, assault and theft of property. Until November, Bentley had an ankle monitor due to a pending case against him.
Moon said he is confident the ALEA investigators will see the shooting was justified. He said he fully supports the deputy who shot at Bentley.
"I was truly just very thankful for the actions of my deputy, for the way that they presented themselves," he said. "This deputy is always in a good mood, always happy, always has a smile on their face, and I've just been praying ever since this sad event happened that this not be something that steals her joy or not be something that distracts her or discourages her from being able to do this anymore because she is absolutely fantastic and I would take 20 of her if I could get them."
The deputy's name will not be released until after the investigation is complete, Moon said. The deputy has been on the roll call at the sheriff's office for less than two years. Moon said she would be presented an award for her actions.
This was the second officer-involved shooting in the Hayden area this year.
Hayden Police Chief James Chapman said his officers are trained well and did what they had to do.
"Anytime there's a loss of life, it's a tragedy, no matter who it is," Chapman added. "But at the end of the day, we are trained, and our officers are trained to always go home, and that's what they did."
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