1 Alabama officer killed, 1 wounded; schools locked down during manhunt

Monday, October 23rd 2006, 9:16 pm
By: News On 6

FAIRFIELD, Ala. (AP) -- A police officer was fatally shot in a Birmingham suburb on Monday and a backup officer was wounded, sparking a manhunt and prompting school lockdowns, authorities said.

More than 150 police officers blocked roads in Fairfield and went door to door with guns drawn searching for two men, authorities said.

"A very cold-blooded murderer, a thug, if you will, is on the streets," Fairfield Mayor Michael Johnson told reporters. He urged the suspects to turn themselves in.

Officer Mary Smith, 48, was responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle about 10:15 a.m. when she was shot as she stepped from her patrol car, authorities said. Officer Erick Burpo, who arrived on the scene a few seconds later, was shot in the leg.

Police Chief Pat Mardis told The Birmingham News that Smith was able to use her radio to call in part of a license plate number, and that officers were searching for a vehicle described as a beige Ford pickup truck.

Smith was shot in the chest and died at a hospital, Mardis said. Smith had joined the Fairfield police two months ago after retiring from the police force in neighboring Birmingham.

Officials locked down a half-dozen schools in the area during the manhunt.

The shootings were several blocks from Miles College. Ricky Lee, a college spokesman, said campus police, city officers and state troopers swept through buildings to make sure no suspects were on campus.

"We have stopped classes for the rest of the day, and the entrance and exits to the campus are locked," he said.