State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said late Wednesday that Austin Patrick Hall, the 26-year-old who reportedly shot two Bibb County deputies on Wednesday, was not supposed to be out of prison.
Hall is now the subject of a manhunt for the alleged shooting of the two deputies. As a felon, it is illegal for Hall to possess a weapon.
The two wounded deputies were transported to UAB hospital in Birmingham where both were admitted and one is in critical condition as of press time.
Zeigler said Hall was criminally charged 46 times in the past nine years.
Despite his dangerous history, he was approved for work release in 2019 while serving a 10-year sentence for theft of property in 2018.
“This inmate was not appropriate for work release then, and he was not supposed to be out of prison now,” Zeigler said.
Hall’s long history of crime and violence did not end in 2018 or in 2019 when he led authorities on a two-state chase.
Hall was indicted in Calhoun County, Alabama in May of this year on 10 charges of second-degree receiving stolen property, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, illegally carrying a firearm, drug possession, resisting arrest, attempting to elude and third-degree burglary.
Despite this most recent arrest and despite his violent and dangerous history, Hall was still running around loose when the two deputies reportedly pulled him over as part of a stolen car investigation.
“Our criminal justice system needs to do a much better job of deciding which inmates to release under work release, parole and any types of early release,” Zeigler said. "We need more accountability on the part of officials who make these decisions.
“Our prayers are with the two wounded deputies, their families and fellow officers. We pray for the swift capture of the accused and that no further violence will be done to law enforcement and the public. After that, we need to use this shooting to prompt a hard look at all forms of criminal release. It appears that Hall was not supposed to be out of prison at this time. We need to tighten up accountability for the safety of the public and law enforcement.”
The Alabama Department of Corrections is in the process of building two new mega prisons to house dangerous repeat offenders such as Hall. The state has faced a chronic shortage of prison beds for more than a decade.
Hall has brown hair and hazel eyes. He is White, five feet nine inches tall and weighs 169 pounds. He is presumed to be armed and extremely dangerous. Call 911 if you have any information about his whereabouts.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said in a statement that Hall, “Was last seen near the Cahaba Wildlife Management area along Alabama 25 and Golfers Trail in Bibb County. Troopers with ALEA’s Highway Patrol Division, Aviation Unit and Special Agents with ALEA’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) along with officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Perry County Sheriff’s Office, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Chilton County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Wilcox County Sheriff’s Office, Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, Vestavia Hills Police Department, Demopolis Police Department, Thorsby Police Department, Moundville Police Department, Pelham Police Department and officers with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources all responded to the scene and are currently assisting with the search.”
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.
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