Updated 1-19-17 at 2:50 p.m.
CULLMAN – The man who was part of an officer-involved shooting in Cullman County last fall has been indicted for attempted murder, according to Cullman County District Attorney C. Wilson Blaylock. Rodney Deland Looney, 44, of Cullman was indicted last week by a grand jury in Cullman County.
The shooting occurred on Tuesday, Nov. 15 on County Road 1223 (Old 31 Highway), between Simmons Grocery and the Morgan County line, near Falkville.
According to Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry, at approximately 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15 the sheriff's office received a call about an individual firing a rifle at a residence on County Road 1223. When the first deputy arrived on the scene, the suspect fired at the deputy, who returned fire, striking the suspect.
The deputy has been officially identified by Blaylock as Lt. Rex Sorrow. Sorrow was not physically harmed.
Looney was injured and reported to be in critical condition the day after the shooting.
The investigation into the shooting was conducted by the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation.
"At the request of the Cullman County Sheriff's Office, SBI is reviewing this officer-involved shooting. The findings will be turned over to the Cullman County DA's office," said Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Public Information Officer Curtis Summerville on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
When asked why the decision was made to move forward with an attempted murder charge, Blaylock said, "He kept coming at the officer, shooting right at him. The officer gave multiple commands to stop and drop and his weapon."
"Because it is an ongoing investigation by the state investigators, I can't get into the specifics of the case, but I do want to say something," said Gentry. "Law enforcement officers today are at more risk than we've ever been in. The deputies at the Cullman County Sheriff's Office go out every day and risk their lives to serve the citizens of this county. We are blessed to live in Cullman County, the greatest county in the state. Unfortunately, there are bad incidents we deal with. During this incident, Lt. Sorrow showed great courage. This is an incident, as a sheriff, you hope never happens. You pray for the safety of the deputies. I want to commend Lt. Sorrow. I want to commend all of the deputies with the Cullman County Sheriff's Office and all law enforcement officers. It's a different time that we live in."
A somber Gentry held a press conference late in the afternoon on the day of the shooting, where he spoke the of the incident, but also called on state lawmakers to do something about what he says is the lack of funding to support citizens with mental health issues.
"This is something that our deputies here at the sheriff's office deal with on a daily basis," said Gentry.
"All the funding has been cut. I think it's time that the state of Alabama realizes that our law enforcement officers, our deputies, are dealing with these individuals daily."
To view Gentry's press conference, see https://www.facebook.com/CullmanSense/videos/1212580612136965/.
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