BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - BREAKING UPDATE: The 16-year-old male suspect has been charged in the shooting of Birmingham narcotics detective John Finke. Finke was shot during a robbery call near a church in Woodlawn. The teenager is charged with attempted murder and firing into an unoccupied vehicle. His name was not released.
ORIGINAL: Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said the off-duty officer who was shot after a robbery call is a narcotics detective. His name is John Finke.
Finke is in intensive care, currently undergoing surgery at UAB.
He was shot three times, twice in the abdomen and once under the arm while responding to a call Sunday morning on Georgia Road in Woodlawn.
Chief Smith said officers took both suspects in the shooting in custody at the Winn Dixie on Bessemer Road in Ensley. One suspect is 16-years-old and accused of shooting Finke. The other suspect is 25. Smith said during the robberies the suspects stole two cell phones from the victims. Investigators used those cell phones to track the suspects down in Ensley.
Officers also found guns on the suspects when they took them in custody.
The victims may have been walking toward Church of the Highlands in Woodlawn when they were robbed.
Finke was working off-duty for the Church of the Highlands when he responded to the robbery call and was shot.
Birmingham police are canvassing several blocks near Georgia road, and talking to any neighbors they can about what they saw and heard.
“Between last year and the year before, we took like 4,000 handguns off the street, and in most of those incidents we did so very safely,” said Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith. “There is always that one time, one moment you know, where things like this happen. So we just have to do more to be prepared, do more as far as our training, and do more to make sure our officers are completely alert and aware of what is happening.”
Finke has been with the Birmingham Police Department since 2005.
Officer Cullen Stafford who was also shot while responding to an armed robbery in July, was one of the first to visit Detective Finke at UAB.
The Birmingham City Council is offering thoughts and prayers of comfort and strength to the family, friends, and coworkers of Detective Finke.
This video of Councilman and Public Safety Chair Hunter Williams was emailed into the newsroom.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District Jay Town says “enough is enough”:
Town says he is proud BPD immediately called for federal assistance. The ATF and U.S. Marshals, along with federal prosecutors, have been working on this shooting all day and they will be working it until there’s no more work to do.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Detective John Finke, his family, all of BPD, and the Birmingham community. We should never forget that the line of duty is endowed by sacrifice, selflessness, and courage. This tragedy is a stark reminder of the dangers all law enforcement face.
Church of the Highlands lead pastor Chris Hodges posted on Instagram Sunday: