Mobile, Ala. (WALA/GRAY NEWS) – Police in Alabama say one person was hospitalized after a shooting turned into an hours-long standoff.
There was a heavy police presence in front of the downtown Mobile Government Plaza following the clash. Mobile Government Plaza houses the city and county courts and city and county governments.
Police received a report just after 10 a.m. local time that a man in a gray Honda had been shot inside a car in front of the plaza, Walla reported.
Mobile police Cpl. When emergency responders arrived to help, a man inside the car held a gun to his own head and threatened to shoot himself, Katrina Frazier said. The department’s SWAT units and negotiators then responded.
At the time, police were unsure if the man shot himself or someone else. Police advised the citizens to stay away from the area.
Several law enforcement vehicles, including tactical units, blocked traffic in the area.
James Barber, chief of staff in the Mobile mayor’s office, said mental health professionals in a nearby armored vehicle were able to communicate with the gunman. He described the man as “mostly uncooperative” until the morning.
Barber said first responding officers noticed the man’s blood inside the car and when he produced a gun, they backed off.
Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine said the man inside the car was identified and confirmed to be injured. Authorities provided phone to communicate.
Two hours later during the standoff, police said gunshots were heard at the scene.
Barber told Walla that the armed man in the vehicle fired two shots at the officers. Barber called them “provocative shots.” He said that the police did not fire back.
Police say the armed man got out of the car, held the gun to his own head and walked onto the sidewalk before re-entering the backseat of the vehicle.
Moments later, an armored police vehicle rammed the suspect’s car and pinned it against a pole. The police fired several rounds of tear gas at the car.
Police say the man was pulled from the car and responders immediately began CPR. The man was put on a stretcher and taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
A man who identified himself as a family member of the gunman told Walla News that he was mentally ill.
Operations inside the Government Plaza building were disrupted, and insiders say the elevators at the front of the glass-enclosed building were shut down.
This is not the first time that the building has been damaged. In 1996, a gunman and a security guard were killed in a shootout in the building’s court lobby.
The Associated Press reported that the gunman in the 1996 incident set off a metal detector and opened fire.
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