Former Columbiana officer charged

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Former Columbiana police officer Donnie Duke was booked into the Shelby County jail last Friday on charges of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle and one count of reckless endangerment.

Shelby County Sheriff&8217;s office chief deputy John Samaniego confirmed the charges were handed down by a Shelby County grand jury last week.

The indictment came after an incident in July that involved Duke and former Columbiana officer Wayne Knight.

According to Columbiana police chief Johnny Brown at the time of the incident, Duke passed an individual in a white vehicle that he thought had warrants out for his arrest in the Summer Hill area of Alabama 25.

&8220;When the officer tried to stop the vehicle, it would not stop,&8221; Brown said. &8220;The vehicle finally came to a stop near the Summer Hill Quick Mart and the officer preceded to begin a traffic stop.&8221;

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.

The chief said the vehicle eventually came to a stop at which point the individual got out and left the scene on foot.

Knight allegedly 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&8217;s car on fire following the chase, but said he could not confirm the statement.

In addition, Brown confirmed at the time of the incident that Knight had allegedly fired shots into the vehicle some time during the pursuit.

The two officer resigned days after the incident occurred and Brown asked the Sheriff&8217;s office to investigate the matter soon after.

Duke posted a $5,500 bond late Friday and was released.

Samaniego said that no other charges were filed by the grand jury after reviewing the case