A Mobile Police Officer was shot to death and two others, including the shooter, are dead after a night of violence at a home on Avondale Court.
An outpouring of support has continued to come out after Officer Justin Billa was killed in the line of duty Tuesday night.
Mobile Police say officers responded to the area of Ridge Road West in reference to a female body found, later identified as 58-year-old Fonda Poellnitz. Police then quickly moved to pursue Poellnitz’s ex-huband Robert Hollie at his home on Avondale Court.
Police say as they set up a perimeter, Hollie fired multiple shots out of his home with one bullet striking Officer Billa. Billa was transported to USA Medical Center where he later died.
SWAT was then deployed to talk to Hollie by telephone with the use of a PA system. After SWAT managed to gain entry, Hollie was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Officer Billa leaves behind a wife and 1-year-old son.
His wife, Erin Billa, posted this message on Facebook thanking everyone for all the kind words and support for her and her family.
Mobile Police have started an official memorial fund to support Billa’s family:
“Today we mourn the loss of Officer Justin Billa who was killed last night while responding to a call for service. Officer Billa had been with the Mobile Police Department since 2016 and served our citizens with honor and distinction during that time. Officer Billa’s death affects more than just the Mobile Police Department. The death of a first responder in the line of duty is a loss that affects the entire city. This morning we grieve for the family and friends of Officer Billa who have lost a father, a son, a husband and a trusted colleague. I offer my prayers in addition to the full support of the city as we deal with this tragedy. – Mayor Stimpson.
The Mobile Fire-Rescue Department released the following statement:
“The Mobile Fire-Rescue Department mourns for our community. As first-responders and medical personnel, our primary concerns are the safety of all in our communities and the preservation of life. We mourn the loss of a dedicated Mobile Police Officer, a father, a husband, and a colleague. We mourn for a slain mother, grandmother, and committed friend. We hurt for their families, co-workers, friends, and neighbors. As they grieve, so too, does Mobile Fire-Rescue.”
Poellnitz’s daughter said of Hollie, “he didn’t love my momma.”
Officers later gathered outside of the USA Medical Center and were seen bowing their heads around 2:10 a.m.
Mobile City Councilman Levon Manzie, who represents District 2, said, “My thoughts and prayers are with this officer and his family. I’m not aware of his condition. I’m praying for the officer. I pray for the officers each and every day.”
Councilman Fred Richard, District 1, also offered his support, “I am concerned about the officer’s family, and I’m concerned about the rest of the officers who on a daily basis put their lives on the lives for the city.”
The Mobile County Law Enforcement Agency released this statement Wednesday:
“Officer Justin Billa’s Mobile Police Department family already knew the person and police officer he was. The citizen’s he served are now coming to realize that Justin was a Christian, a family man, a gentleman and a selfless police officer. But make no mistake, when Justin stepped into his office every day, his patrol vehicle, he was all business. Before he was taken from us, Justin exhibited consummate professionalism and gallant bravery in the pursuit of, tracking down and attempting to apprehend a dangerous and violent felon who had committed an abhorrent murder of an innocent human being. The Department will fondly remember and admire Justin’s dedication to his calling and the citizens of Mobile whom he served. Our hearts are heavy with grief for the loss of our fine young brother. We will miss Justin but will never forget him. We will endeavor to carry on his example of an exceptional police officer. May God bless Justin on his journey home. God bless Justin’s family. Our prayers and thoughts are with them in continuum.”