Auburn Police releases identity of officer shot during traffic stop of robbery suspect

Auburn Police releases identity of officer shot during traffic stop of robbery suspect

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Auburn Police Division has confirmed the identity of the Officer injured in a shooting last night.

Officer Justin Sanders sustained serious injuries during a traffic stop of a robbery suspect in the 1100 block of Opelika Road Friday night.

Officer Sanders is a five year veteran of law enforcement and is assigned as a Patrol Officer. He is a native of the Auburn Community and a graduate of Auburn High School.

Officer Sanders was initially transported by ambulance to the East Alabama Medical Center. He was later transported to UAB Medical Center in Birmingham, where he remains in stable condition and recovers from his injuries.

“We are thankful for the staff at East Alabama Medical Center for all they did to save Officer Sanders. We are very proud of the bravery he displayed in attempting to arrest someone dangerous to this community. We are humbled by the outpouring of public support; we are also very proud and appreciative of the dozens of law enforcement personnel who responded within minutes to aid in preventing further violence by those responsible. More than anything, we are thankful that Justin will recover."
- Auburn Police Chief Paul Register

This comes after police Auburn Police responded to reports of a robbery around 5:00 PM last night. Police began to search for the suspect’s silver Jeep and officer Sanders spotted the vehicle near Opelika rd. He attempted to pull the vehicle over but was met with gunfire when approaching.

The suspect, later identified as 38-year-old Christopher Wallace, fled the scene with an unidentified female. The two were later located at an apartment complex off of Wire Rd.

While officers were trying to enter the apartment, Wallace reportedly fired at officers again who then returned fire.

Police say Wallace and the woman who was with him refused to exit the apartment so they used tear gas and a distraction device. At some point a fire started, and the apartment became engulfed in flames, killing Wallace and the woman.

Auburn Mayor Ron Anders released a statement on the events saying:

This event is the kind of thing we work daily to prevent from happening in our community. But I saw Auburn’s truest spirit in how we responded to this event. And I couldn’t be prouder of the Auburn Police Division, area first responders and our community.

The case remains under investigation. Stay with News Leader 9 for the latest details.

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