Lee County man arrested in shooting of sheriff’s deputy

Crime

UPDATE 4:02 p.m. 10/26/21: John Cross has been released from the hospital and taken to Lee County Jail where he will be processed before going to Russell County Jail to stay in custody.

His bond was set for $250,000 and is scheduled to have a hearing tomorrow morning before Judge Speakman.

The Opelika Police Department is continuing to investigate, anyone with information is asked to contact:

  • Opelika Police Department Detective Division at (334) 705-5220
  • Secret Witness Hotline at (334) 745-8665

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – A 33-year-old Lee County Deputy and U.S. Army veteran recovering in a Columbus, Georgia hospital after being shot during a traffic stop in Beauregard this morning. The suspect, who was also injured, is in custody and facing an Attempted Murder Charge.

Double Zero, the dreaded call alerting a law enforcement officer is in distress, came over to Lee County 911 dispatch around 8:38 Wednesday morning. Sheriff Jay Jones says the incident began when the deputy pulled over a motorcycle on Lee Road 121 for not having a tag. The driver initially stopped, then drove off, crashing a short distance later.

“As the deputy pulled up to check on the violator, the violator produced a firearm and began firing at the deputy. The deputy sheriff then engaged the individual, and an exchange of gunfire took place, the deputy was struck in the hands and the arm area,” said Sheriff Jones.

The deputy was located, alert on the scene. His name is not being released at this time. The deputy is at Piedmont Columbus Regional, expected to recover.

The suspect, 42-year old John Cross, also known as Squirrel for the tattoo across his forehead, was located in the woods with at least one gunshot. Cross was flown to the same hospital as the deputy. Cross’ condition is unknown. Opelika police, who have taken over the investigation, says Cross remains under guard by the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Department. A Lee County warrant for Attempted Murder has been obtained, and upon Cross’ release from the hospital, he will be arrested and placed into the Muscogee County Jail. At that time, 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 be housed in a neighboring county’s jail.

“I think today’s incident underscores the challenges, seriousness, and the dangers that our law enforcement officers face, and it’s all intending to protect their communities. I think people are getting sick and tired of officers and deputies, men and women across this country, being injured doing a job of protecting others. I know I am fed up with it,” said Sheriff Jones.

Opelika Police say their independent investigation will be methodical, as they work closely with the Lee County Prosecutors. News 3 is awaiting to see if the dashcam video captured the shooting. Sheriff Jay Jones says the deputy was not wearing a body cam.

Based on what he knows, Sheriff Jones says the deputy, who had been with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for seven and half months, acted under the law.

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