Two Columbiana police officers resign following weekend incident

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 7, 2006

Two Columbiana police officers submitted their letters of resignation yesterday following a car chase last Saturday that resulted in shots being fired into the vehicle.

Columbiana Police Chief Johnny Brown confirmed the resignations of the two officers today and said that the Shelby County Sheriff’s office has agreed to investigate the incident, which took place on Highway 25. He declined to give the officers names and said that their resignations were awaiting approval by the Columbiana city council during its meeting Monday night.

Brown said one office passed an individual in a white vehicle that he thought had warrants for his arrest.

&uot;When the officer tried to stop the vehicle, it would not stop,&uot; Brown said. &uot;The vehicle came to a stop near the Summer Hill Quick Mart and the officer proceeded to begin a traffic stop.&uot;

According to Brown, the vehicle started moving towards the officer as if to run him down, causing him to fire shots into the vehicle.

The car then pulled away and a chase ensued.

Brown said there were allegations made that the officer fired shots while chasing the vehicle, but he would not confirm or deny those reports or attribute the accusations.

The chief said the vehicle eventually came to a stop at which point the suspect got out and escaped on foot.

Brown said that his department believed they knew who the suspect was, but he would not elaborate on their identity or the nature of the outstanding warrants in question.

The second officer involved in the investigation arrived at the scene after the chase, Brown said. The chief said that there were reports that an attempt was made to set the suspect’s car on fire following the chase, but said he could not confirm the statement.

&uot;The vehicle is now in the possession of the sheriff’s office,&uot; Brown said. &uot;They will be examining it as they conduct their investigation.&uot;

Shelby County Sheriff Chief Deputy John Samaniego said that his office had agreed to investigate the incident for the Columbiana department.

&uot;If it does ride to the occasion of criminal behavior than we can hand it to a grand jury to take action,&uot; Samaniego said.

Brown said he could not comment on the source of the allegations of extra shots being fired or the attempted burning of the suspects vehicle, pending the sheriff office’s investigation