AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - A man wanted for the shooting of an Auburn police officer has died, along with a woman who was with him. Police say the two were killed in an apartment fire that broke out during a standoff with law enforcement
There was a massive search for Christopher James Wallace, 38, after police say he shot an Auburn police officer multiple times Friday night. Police say he was traveling in a silver Jeep Liberty with a Barbour County license plate. A woman, whose name wasn’t released, was in the vehicle with him.
The shooting happened on Opelika Road near Dollar General around 6 p.m. There was a massive law enforcement presence at the Dollar General. There was police tape around the parking lot, and several markers that seemed to be marking shell casings. The crime scene tape also extended to the neighboring O’Reilly Auto Parts and AutoZone Auto Parts.
Later in the evening, a large amount of law enforcement descended on an apartment complex off Wire Road near Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
According to Auburn police, investigators learned the suspect and the woman were at a relative’s apartment in the 1000 block of Stonegate Drive. While officers were trying to enter the apartment, Wallace reportedly fired at officers who then returned fire.
The two relatives exited the apartment and were taken into custody. It’s unclear if they will face any charges.
Police say Wallace and the woman who was with him refused to exit the apartment. Police 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. Police are investigating the cause of the fire.
Auburn’s Department of Campus Safety and Security sent an alert shortly after 9 p.m. saying shots were fired near the vet school and then sent another alert shortly after 9:30 p.m. giving an “all clear.” Residents of the apartment complex said police officers knocked on their doors, searched their apartments and then told them to run. Witnesses heard several bangs and dozens of pops and then saw smoke.
Police say this all started with a robbery investigation in Auburn Friday evening. Around 5:30 p.m. officers were responding to the robbery of a pharmacy on Dean Road and had a description of a vehicle. An officer stopped the vehicle on Opelika Road near Dollar General, and when he approached the vehicle, he was shot multiple times. The vehicle then fled the scene.
The officer was transported to a East Alabama Medical Center. Police say he was alert and talking. Late Friday night Auburn police said he was in stable condition.
“We are certainly encouraged that he’s going to make a recovery. We hope the community’s prayers and thoughts are with him to get him through it,” Capt. Lorenza Dorsey said.
Police haven’t released the name of the officer but said he has been with the department for four to five years.
Police talked with reporters outside the Dollar General:
This was the scene at Dollar General Friday evening:
A resident talked about having to quickly leave his apartment while police were searching: