No Bond: Suspect in Lee County Deputy shooting ordered to remain behind bars

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OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – An Opelika man accused in the Attempted Murder of a Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy will be held behind bars until trial, a Lee County Judge ruled Wednesday afternoon. 

John Cross, 42, is accused of shooting the 33-year-old deputy during a traffic stop a week ago along Lee Road 121 on Oct. 20, 2021.

During Wednesday’s initial appearance, prosecutor Garrett Saucer with the Lee County District Attorney’s Office asked for no bond in the case, informing the judge the deputy’s shooting was “inches away from being a capital murder case” and Cross’ “astonishing” criminal record left him with “nothing to lose” and Cross was an “extreme danger to the community.”

Cross, who was injured when the deputy returned fire, was released from the hospital earlier this week. An attorney was appointed to represent him. Cross will remain at the Russell County Detention Facility until trial. 

Meanwhile, the wounded 33-year-old Lee County Deputy and U.S. Army veteran was released from a Columbus, Georgia, hospital and continues to recover after being shot during a traffic stop in Beauregard

Double Zero, the dreaded call alerting a law enforcement officer is in distress, came over to Lee County 911 dispatch around 8:38 that 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.

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. 

Opelika police have taken over the investigation. 

Meanwhile, on the day of the shooting, an emotional Sheriff Jones spoke about his frustration.

“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.

News 3 is waiting to see if a preliminary hearing will be set in the case. 

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