BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A Birmingham police officer was shot and the suspect is dead after an armed robbery Wednesday evening at a convenience store downtown.
The officer has been identified as Cullen Stafford. He underwent surgery at UAB Hospital and is in stable condition.
The deceased suspect has been identified as 35-year-old Roderick Wilson of Pinson. The Jefferson County Coroner says he died from multiple gunshot wounds but did not specify how many.
The incident happened after police were called to a robbery in progress at a convenience store in the 500 block of 23rd Street North.
When police were trying to apprehend the suspect on 22nd Street North, officers say he pulled out a handgun and fired at them.
Police say Cullen was shot five to seven times and taken to UAB Hospital.
After the first officer was hit, the suspect continued to fire a weapon and police officers began to return the fire.
Gunfire was exchanged over multiple locations before the suspect was pronounced dead at a scene near a parking structure.
The crime scene stretched five city blocks around the initial scene.
“This is a very tough job and we have officers who are here that we’ve provided a lot of training to, a lot of support. We’re going to continue to support them throughout the process just like we did during the time we lost Sergeant Carter,” said Police Chief Patrick Smith.
Mayor Randall Woodfin also offered words of condolence:
During the initial media briefing, Police Chief Patrick Smith had a message for the residents of the city. “The Birmingham Police Department is out here working for them. We’re going to do everything we can to make this city safe.”
Mayor Woodfin spoke at a press conference on Thursday and said, “I want to say thank you to every other officer and the courage they showed in responding to this incident. I want to wish Officer Stafford a happy birthday, the fact he is alive today, we can celebrate his life.”
At the same press conference, Smith said the following about Cullen’s condition, “He has a long road to recovery, he’s going to need our support, and we stand with him.”
During the incident, we understand a second officer was also injured when he fell, but he is expected to be OK.
VIDEO below: Father of Officer Cullen arrives at hospital:
VIDEO below: District Attorney Danny Carr speaks about the shooting: