The Fort Payne police chief says the department was called to a domestic situation around 9:25 p.m. Tuesday night at a home in the 4100 block of Fischer Road NE that led to an officer shooting at a suspect.
The department says the caller stated there was a man trying to pour gasoline on a woman, who was the homeowner. Police say when officers arrived to the home, the suspect, later identified as 40-year-old Jeffery Johnson of Fort Payne, had stolen a white minivan and left the scene.
While officers were gathering information about the domestic call, police say Johnson came back to the home and the victim and officers identified the van.
The department says officers tried to stop the vehicle, but Johnson turned onto Dean Road, turned off his lights and accelerated at a high rate of speed to elude officers. Police say he then turned onto a driveway, backed out of the driveway and tried to ram a Fort Payne police vehicle.
Police say Johnson’s vehicle ended up in the ditch along Dean Road and when a police officer tried to get him to put his vehicle in park and exit the van, he refused and accelerated toward the officer.
The department says the officer then fired his weapon at Johnson’s vehicle out of fear of being struck. Johnson was shot and treated at the scene by officers, DeKalb County sheriff’s deputies, Fort Payne Fire and Rescue officials and DeKalb County Ambulance Service personnel.
Johnson was taken to DeKalb Regional for treatment of his gunshot wounds and was later airlifted to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
At this time, Johnson is being charged with theft of property first-degree and domestic violence second-degree. Fort Payne police say each charge has a $100,000 bond.
The investigation is ongoing and police say more charges are forthcoming. Police say none of their officers were injured.
Neighbors told WAAY 31 while they had heard about the shooting, they aren't incredibly concerned because this is rare for their neighborhood.
Fort Payne police detectives, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, a Jacksonville State Center Forensics Unit and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the case.