MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama police officer has been charged with murder in the shooting death of a black man outside a neighbor’s home.
Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey said Wednesday that state investigators have obtained a warrant for the arrest of Montgomery police officer Aaron Smith.
“I will do everything in my power to protect a police officer who is operating within the law,” Bailey said Wednesday. “I will also use every ounce of my power to prosecute a police officer who is acting outside of the law.”
Bailey said Smith is in custody, with bond set at $150,000. He wouldn’t comment on what evidence led to the charge. It was not immediately clear whether Smith had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.
The charge comes days after authorities said Smith shot and killed 58-year-old Greg Gunn.
Authorities initially said Gunn was holding a stick or cane and the two men had struggled. But a neighbor of Gunn tells The Associated Press the stick was actually an extension handle for a paint roller that belonged to him.
Gunn’s death is an “isolated incident,” Bailey said, and the State Bureau of Investigations will continue to investigate the case.
SBI’s findings will be presented to a Montgomery County grand jury.
“I want to be crystal clear that the arrest that is being made today is in no way an indictment on the Montgomery Police Department,” Bailey said. “In fact, 99.9 percent of the Montgomery Police officers do an exceptional job on a daily basis protecting us and our community. They are, in fact, the thin blue line between order and chaos.”
Congresswoman Terri Sewell issued the following statement:
My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. Greg Gunn and those affected by this unfortunate tragedy. I have been in contact with local authorities to ensure that this case receives a thorough review and investigation.
Now that a murder warrant has been issued in Mr. Gunn’s death, and the officer has been arrested and charged, we seek to have justice be fair and swift for the family, the community and all those struggling with this tragic incident.