State authorities investigating shooting involving fallen Sheffield officer

Alabama News

SHEFFIELD, Ala. – State authorities are beginning an investigation into a fatal officer-involved shooting in Muscle Shoals on Friday afternoon.

The Sheffield Police Officer who was shot in the line of duty Friday has died.

Sheffield City Councilwoman Randa Hovater confirmed Sgt. Nick Risner died from his injuries at 9:52 a.m. Saturday.

Risner, a K-9 officer was shot during a firefight in Muscle Shoals Friday afternoon and flown to Huntsville Hospital for surgery. He was one of two officers hit by bullets during the firefight behind Southgate Mall Friday afternoon. The other officer was hit in his vest and was not injured.

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Hal Taylor released the following statement on the incident:

I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sheffield Police Officer Sgt. Nick Risner. It has been absolutely devastating to learn of the loss of Sgt. Risner who was a true professional and dedicated public servant, devoting nearly a decade of his life to protecting and serving his local community, as well as his nation by serving with the United States Army Reserve.

His determination to serve the public will always be remembered and the sacrifice he made will never be forgotten. As we mourn alongside fellow law enforcement officers as well as the entire community, we also pray fpr the speedy and full recovery of Lt. Max Dotson who was struck by gunfire during the incident and fortunately, is doing well.

It is times such as these that truly remind us how dangerous a career in law enforcement can be. Every day, officers around the state risk their lives in the performance of their duties to protect and keep their fellow citizens safe. Both officers’ courage, resolve, and brave actions will continue to live on and provide us with an example of true heroism.

ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor

In a statement released Saturday, Governor Kay Ivey ordered flags lowered to half-staff on the day of Risner’s interment.

“Let us remember the life and service of Sgt. Risner, whose sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Ivey said. “We offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family, his fellow officers and his community.”

Sheffield Police Chief Ricky Terry released a statement thanking the community and everyone who prayed for Sgt. Risner, his family and the Sheffield Police Department. Terry also said Risner died a hero and he is continuing to save lives by being an active organ donor.

A prayer vigil for Risner is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon outside of Vertillo Pizza & Grill (312 N. Montgomery Ave, Sheffield). There will be a donation bucket to help the family pay for expenses and Vertillos will be donating 25% of the day’s sales to the family as well.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement, “We often take for granted the safety of our neighborhoods and communities while, every minute of every day, heroes sworn to protect and serve us venture into harm’s way. Sergeant Risner was such a hero. We live our lives in security because of the bravery and commitment of men like Sergeant Risner who vigilantly stand guard against evil. We can never repay their sacrifice. Please pray for Sergeant Risner’s family, friends, and fellow officers.” 

The suspect, Brian Lansing Martin, was sentenced in 2013 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter. He was arrested in 2011 for killing his father over an owed debt in Tuscumbia. He was released from prison in May 2016, according to police.

Terry also said in his statement, “The justice system failed not only Sgt. Nick Risner, but his family and everyone who has been affected by his passing. This incident should have never happened because a coward who should still be in prison was walking the streets.”

Martin was hit during the firefight Friday and taken to Huntsville Hospital for treatment.

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