Man Kills Himself After Fatally Shooting Two Policemen
OZARK, Ala. (AP) _ A man shot two police officers to death Saturday as they responded to a report of domestic trouble, fired at a third officer and wounded a neighbor before apparently killing himself, authorities said.
State troopers and the Alabama Army National Guard helped Ozark police surround the duplex after the two officers were shot about 7 a.m.
Officers surrounding the building tried for several hours to talk to the suspect, identified as Randy Crittenden, 25, but he never responded.
Police Chief Alan Benefield said the man apparently killed himself with a .38-caliber revolver ″within a matter of minutes″ after shooting the officers.
″However, we did not know that, we had no way of knowing that, so we used every safety precaution possible.″
At a news conference, Benefield identified the slain officers as Charlie Ray Alcuri, 34, and John Drew Seifert, 57. Seifert was 15-year veteran of the department, while Alcuri had been with the force 12 years.
The neighbor, Eddie James Draught, 19, apparently was shot before the officers arrived, Benefield said. Draught was listed in stable condition at Dale County Hospital.
Benefield said there was no clear motive for the shootings, which occurred at the home of a woman identified only as a cousin of the gunman’s. Police were called to the scene by the woman when she fled, officials said.
″It’s looking more and more like drugs were involved,″ Benefield said. He declined further comment.
The gunman’s body was found about 12:45 p.m. when officers from the Ozark Police Department and the Dale County Sheriff’s Department, along with members of an Alabama state troopers SWAT team, entered the duplex after firing tear gas canisters inside. The duplex is part of a 70-unit complex, which was evacuated during the standoff.
Benefield said Alcuri was the first officer to arrive at the duplex after the woman reported a disturbance. Alcuri was gunned down as he was trying to aid Draught, who was lying in the front yard.
Seifert was shot after he arrived to assist Alcuri, Benefield said. A third officer also was fired upon when he came to back up Seifert but was not hit.
The police chief said none of the officers fired any shots at Crittenden.
″Both officers died heroes going to the aid of another person,″ Benefield said.
The bodies of the slain officers remained in front of the duplex until authorities could secure the area ″with smoke and other tactical operations,″ Benefield said.
The police officers are the first in this southeast Alabama town of 13,000 to be killed in the line of duty, officials said.