Gunman dies in hospital after standoff; Ala. police say he shot himself
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA/Gray News) - Police in Alabama say a man died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the hospital following an hours-long standoff in Alabama.
There was a heavy police presence in front of Mobile Government Plaza as a result of the standoff. Mobile Government Plaza houses both city and county courts, as well as city and county government.
Police received a report after 10 a.m. local time indicating a person inside a car, a gray Honda, in front of the plaza had suffered a gunshot wound, WALA reported.
Mobile Police Cpl. Katrina Frazier said when emergency responders arrived to render assistance, a man inside the car reportedly held a gun to his own head and threatened to shoot himself. The department’s SWAT units and negotiators then responded.
At that time, police were unsure if the person shot himself or was shot by someone else. Police advised citizens to stay away from the area.
Traffic in the area has been blocked by numerous law enforcement vehicles including tactical units.
James Barber, chief of staff for the Mobile mayor’s office, said mental health professionals in a nearby armored vehicle were able to establish communication with the armed man. He described the man as having been “mostly uncooperative” through the morning.
Barber said officers who initially responded noticed blood on the man inside the car and that they pulled back when he presented a firearm.
Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine said authorities identified the man inside the car and confirmed that he was injured. Authorities gave the man a phone for communication.
After two hours during the standoff, police say gunshots were heard at the scene.
Barber told WALA that the armed man inside the vehicle fired two shots at officers. Barber described them as “provocation shots.” He said the police did not fire back.
Police say the armed man exited the car and walked onto the sidewalk with a gun held to his own head before reentering the vehicle’s back seat.
Moments later, an armored police vehicle rammed the suspect’s car and pinned it into place against a pole. Police fired several rounds of tear gas at the car.
Police say the man was pulled from the car and responders immediately started CPR. The man was loaded onto a stretcher and put into an ambulance and taken to the hospital.
Around 6:40 p.m., the police reported that the man died while in the hospital.
Someone who identified themselves as a family member of the gunman told WALA News that he suffers mental illness.
Activities inside the Government Plaza building have been disrupted, and the elevators that are at the front of the glass-clad structure have been shut down, according to people inside.
This is not the first time the building has seen trouble. A 1996 shooting in the building’s courthouse lobby killed the gunman and a security officer.
The gunman in the 1996 incident started shooting when he set off the metal detector, the Associated Press reported.
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