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UPDATE: Suspect ID’d in Lee Co. sheriff’s deputy shooting during traffic stop

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 11:05 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 11:29 AM EDT
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LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - A suspect and a Lee County deputy are both recovering from a shooting that happened Wednesday morning.

On October 20, at approximately 8:38 a.m., a Lee County sheriff’s deputy pulled over a motorcycle driver, 42-year-old John Cross of Lee County - also known as Squirrel - for a traffic violation in the Beauregard community, according to Lee Co. Sheriff Jay Jones.

During the stop, Cross attempted to get away. Sheriff Jones says the man drove for only a short distance before crashing his motorcycle into a wooded area along the road. The deputy went to check on him and that’s when Cross reportedly opened fire on the deputy.

The deputy returned fire, injuring the suspect .The deputy and the motorcyclist were both struck by bullets.

Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey says their first priority was getting medical care for the deputy and the suspect and investigating what took place.

“Medical treatment was received by the deputy and by the suspect immediately we began that investigation blocking off the scene, preserving all evidence basically gaining control of everything so we can then step back and look at this objectively,” said Healey.

The deputy was airlifted to Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown. Cross was also taken to a hospital where he remains under guard by the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office.

An attempted murder warrant has been issued for Cross. Upon his release from the hospital, he will be arrested and sent to the Muscogee County Jail. Then, the extradition process will be commenced to have Cross brought back to Alabama.

Once Cross returns to Alabama, arrangements will be made for him to housed in a neighboring county’s jail.

There is surveillance video, however Sheriff Jones says that is not being released at this time. He also says the deputy was not wearing a body camera because of a limited budget.

According to Allison Duke with the Opelika Police Department, there is no word on the exact date Cross will be released - though it’ll be in the next few days.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones says the sheriff’s deputy underwent successful surgery on Thursday. He was released from the hospital Friday, October 22, and is back home.

The case remains under investigation by the Opelika Police Department. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the Opelika Police Department Detective Division at 334-705-5220.

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