A massive law enforcement manhunt ended Thursday with a suspect in custody in connection with the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies in Bibb County.
District Attorney Michael Jackson said authorities have 26-year-old Austin Patrick Hall in custody after the manhunt, which began after the Wednesday afternoon shooting. One of the deputies was critically wounded.
At a Thursday news conference, Bibb County Sheriff Jody Wade said that one of the deputies, Chris Poole, has been treated and released.
“We ask that you continue to remember Deputy Brad Johnson’s family in your prayers as they’re still with him at the hospital and he’s going through the final processes to continue to save lives,’’ Wade said.
Family members have said that Johnson is on life support and was going through the organ donor process.
“It’s been said that a coward dies a thousand deaths, but a hero but one,’’ he said. “Brad Johnson was a hero.”
According to a statement released by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Hall was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force at 7:30 a.m. near the 1200 block of Bulldog Ben Road in Brierfield and taken to jail.
Jackson said the deputies were pursuing a suspected stolen vehicle Wednesday afternoon when the driver opened fire, injuring both deputies. The suspect ran away on foot after shooting the two deputies on Golfer’s Trail in Brierfield.
After the shooting, officials at Centreville City Hall alerted the public about the shooting and the manhunt in a Facebook post, stating residents in Brierfield and surrounding areas, such as Golfer’s Trail, Bibb County Road 10 and Alabama Highway 25, should be on alert for an “armed and dangerous suspect.”
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency also issued an alert warning the public that Hall “is considered to be armed and extremely dangerous” while asking that anyone with information on his whereabouts to call 911.
According to court records, Hall has an extensive criminal history dating back more than a decade.
In 2019, The Associated Press reported that a search was launched after he escaped from a state work release center.
The Alabama Department of Corrections said that Hall, then 24, escaped from custody at the Camden Work Release Center, located about 40 miles south of Selma, on the evening of Oct. 6, 2019.
At the time, Hall was serving more than nine years on a property theft conviction.
And in 2014, Hall was one of two men arrested by Tuscaloosa police and suspected of being responsible for several property crimes that were reported in May of that year near the area of Interstate 20/59 and James I. Harrison Parkway.
Current Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley, then a sergeant serving as the police department’s spokesman, said Hall, of Clanton, and a Duncanville man were arrested after a woman reported seeing two men breaking into a car in the 200 block of 36th Street East.
Hall was charged in that incident with three counts of breaking and entering a vehicle, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of first-degree possession of marijuana, police said.
According to Sgt. Jeremy J. Burkett of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the manhunt involved troopers with ALEA’s Highway Patrol Division, Aviation Unit and Special Agents with ALEA’s State Bureau of Investigation along with officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Other agencies involved in the manhunt included the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the Perry County Sheriff’s Office, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Wilcox County Sheriff’s Office, the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, the Vestavia Hills Police Department, the Demopolis Police Department, the Thorsby Police Department, the Moundville Police Department, the Pelham Police Department and officers with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Reach Jasmine Hollie at JHollie@gannett.com.