BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — There have been three officer-involved shootings in Baldwin County in the last several months.
In June, Johnny Simmons from Monroe County, allegedly armed with a pistol, was shot by police in Daphne.
In July, Clint Dearman of Mississippi was killed by officers in a hail of gunfire in a Malbis parking lot. Investigators say he was armed with a gun.
Just over a week ago in Foley, 32-year-old John Waldhauer of Georgia, allegedly armed with a knife, was shot in the face by a Foley officer.
Waldhauer’s mother Christie Frost told WKRG News 5 she understands why officers shot her son.
“My understanding is it went in through the upper right side and came out in the bottom lower side, shattered teeth and jaws on both sides,” Frost said.
“If somebody came at me with a knife, I’d shoot them. I can’t blame the officer for defending himself. Those guys put themselves on the line every day for us. They have a right to defend themselves,” Frost said.
Aggression towards law enforcement is just one of the things Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack says all of the shootings have in common. Mental illness, drug addiction and weapons are the others.
“It is definitely a different environment these men and women of law enforcement are having to deal with,” Mack said.
He said over the last five years, officer-involved shootings have spiked, and it’s not just a Baldwin County problem. It’s across the country.
“We have had some unfortunate acts that have happened involving law enforcement, that some of them in-and-of themselves were wrong. Those gave a platform for a lot of people to speak out and they tried to paint law enforcement with a very wide brush,” said Mack.
In the case of John Waldhauer, his Mom said a life of bad choices caught up with him in Foley.
“He’s been in trouble off and on since he was in his teens and doesn’t really seem to understand that what he does affects others,” Frost said.
Waldhauer remains in a Florida hospital. He has undergone a couple of surgeries and is expected to recover.