HEFLIN — Law enforcement pursuit of a suspect wanted in Kentucky ended Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot of New Harmony Baptist Church. The suspect was shot, according to Heflin police Chief A. J. Benefield, but no injuries to civilians or officers was reported.
The church parking lot was the last stop for the unnamed suspect, who was wanted on federal firearms charges, according to Lt. John Riley, a spokesman for the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation.
An officer rammed the man’s vehicle to end the chase, said Benefield. At some point in the course of the chase the suspect was shot, the chief said, though it’s not clear when. Authorities didn’t say where the suspect was taken after being captured.
Riley said the U.S. Marshals Service and some local task force officers had been trying to serve a warrant on the suspect, described as “a guy out of Kentucky” who had been tracked to Heflin.
“It looks like he attempted to run over some police officers and there are five law enforcement vehicles that have been damaged in the chase,” Riley said.
Riley said he believes the white Nissan truck the suspect drove had been stolen. The truck’s license plate had a number 18 prefix, indicating it was from Cleburne County.
“Basically outside agencies came into our jurisdiction and located an individual they had warrants on at WM Grocery parking lot,” Benefield said.
A call went out on the radio requesting help from a Cleburne County deputy at the grocery store and two Heflin patrol vehicles were sent to the scene. Benefield said there were multiple shots fired but the suspect sped off and drove through residential yards. The truck’s tires left deep ruts in the wet ground.
“One of our officers got mud all over him — and basically dove out of the way to keep from getting run over,” Benefield said.
Several of the chase vehicles in and around the church parking lot were ringed by yellow crime-scene tape. The congregation was forced to moved its Wednesday services to a private home, a church member said.