MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — While multiple investigations ensue to determine whether Monday’s officer-involved shooting on Glenwood Street in Midtown Mobile was justified, much of the evidence is kept under lock and key.
Two Mobile Police officers responded to a call at 7:10 a.m. regarding a man on the roof of a vacant house. After talking to the suspect, 24-year-old Christopher Jones, the two officers were able to convince him to come down from the roof.
According to Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine, that is when Jones pointed a shotgun with a pistol grip at the officers. Prine said the officers drew their weapons and fired multiple shots, killing Jones.
“The guy, I guess he was getting down off the top of the house. The officers who stood at the gate told him to drop his weapon,” witness Jermaine Wooten said. “Then when he didn’t drop his weapon, the officers fired about six to seven shots, and that was about it.”
Prine said there is body camera footage showing the incident, but due to multiple investigations, it likely will not be publicly released. The footage has been turned over to the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office to be presented to a Grand Jury.
As per HB289, which went into effect on Sept. 1, the ‘custodial law enforcement agency’ must promptly respond to a request for body camera footage made by a personal representative of whoever is shown in the tape.
However, with that footage being in the hands of the DA’s Office, it is protected by the Grand Jury Secrecy Act, which prohibits the disclosure of Grand Jury material before it goes to court. A violation of this law could result in a felony charge.
Per protocol, three investigations are underway to determine whether the shooting was justified. The police department is conducting criminal and administrative investigations. The DA’s Office is conducting a separate investigation, which will be presented to a Grand Jury.
Wooten, who lives a few doors down from the vacant house where the shooting happened, said Jones was known to wander the neighborhood, talking to himself.
“He had mental health problems,” Wooten said. “Everybody knew him around the neighborhood. Everybody has seen him, walking, talking to himself… he would never just talk directly to you.”
Prine said the mental health factor cannot be ruled out.
“We will have to determine what the mental condition was certainly of this individual,” Prine said.
An autopsy report is expected to be finalized in the next few days.