BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A Birmingham police officer was shot on Tuscaloosa Avenue in Birmingham around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday.
The officer, Sgt. Anthony Wheeler was shot several times, and officers are optimistic about his condition.
Sgt. Wheeler is a 10-year veteran from the West Precinct.
Investigators say Wheeler was shot several times during a traffic stop but managed to return fire.
Investigators say Sgt. Wheeler and a second sergeant stopped the driver based on tips from an auto theft investigation. The sergeants saw the truck towing a vehicle behind and they wanted to make sure they had the proper licenses. Two people then ran from the truck. One of the suspects began shooting at Wheeler, who returned fire. The officer was struck by gunfire, as well as one of the suspects. Both sustained non life-threatening injuries and are being treated at UAB Hospital.
Investigators say the shooting suspect is in custody and two other persons of interest have been detained. The shooting suspect has been identified as 40-year-old Kenneth Whitehead. There have been two attempted murder warrants against him. He remains hospitalized.
One of the people who ran was found in the 1100 block of Cotton Avenue after a search.
A fellow officer says when they checked on Wheeler Wednesday afternoon at the hospital he asked how the suspect he shot was doing.
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation has taken the lead on this case.
This is the fifth time a Birmingham Police officer has been shot in the last 15 months. Sgt. Wytasha Carter was shot and killed and Officer Lucas Allums was shot in January 2019. Officer Cullen Stafford was shot last summer and Officer John Finke was shot in January.
Statement by Councilor Hunter Williams, chair of the Birmingham City Council’s Public Safety Committee.
"We have a big ask of all the men and women in the Birmingham Police Department. They always put their lives on the line every time they show up for a shift. Today exemplifies just that. We have officers out there trying to keep our communities safe. We want the people to rally behind our police department and we want to end the ‘no snitch’ policy in the city. Our police department is only going to be as strong as our community that rallies around them. Any time you see or hear anything, please report it to Birmingham Crime Stoppers anonymously at 205-254-7777.”