The State Bureau of investigation has taken the lead over the case of a shooting that left a Lauderdale County deputy and one other person shot Wednesday night.
A Lauderdale County deputy was shot while serving commitment papers for a mental evaluation around 6:30 p.m. at a home on Ridge Avenue in Florence, off Northwest Jackson Road and north of Hibbett Middle School.
The shooting took place inside the home and there were three other deputies present, totaling four deputies inside the home. The other three are on paid leave per SOP during investigation.
Officials said the homeowner opened fire first, wounding Deputy Randall McCrary in the chest. McCrary returned fire, striking the homeowner. They say that Deputy McCrary did not make forceful entry into the home and simply knocked at the front door to serve the warrant.
A neighbor on Ridge Avenue said he's not surprised this happened to Murphy because he has had a lot of issues and caused problems in the neighborhood.
Chief Deputy Richard Richey says the suspect lives at the home with his mother, and a source close to the investigation said the shooter was 35-year-old Timothy Vincent Murphy. His condition is unknown at the time.
Records show Murphy has had several run-ins with law enforcement for offenses involving porn, arson, and marijuana.
"This is the worst news anyone in law enforcement could ever get," said Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler, "particularly a chief or a sheriff - that somebody who's out here serving our community, trying to keep our community safe - is hit by gunfire."
Sheriff Rick Singleton accompanied McCrary as he was transported to Huntsville Hospital. The helicopter carrying the homeowner landed shortly afterward.
Officials said McCrary was talking before being transported. They said he has an injury to the spleen and had to undergo surgery late Wednesday night, but is in good condition.
McCrary's wife, Tresea, posted on Facebook and said he is stable but had a collapsed lung and had his spleen, appendix, and gall bladder removed.
Back at the scene, as investigators collected more evidence, neighbor John Walls said he was surprised, but at the same time, not surprised.
"This is happening all across America," said Walls. "We're not respecting our deputies."
Walls and his wife moved into their home three months ago and say they've seen their fair share of police activity in the area. Despite that, it's the deputy's bravery that will keep them calling their neighborhood home.
"We still feel very safe in this neighborhood because we do have officers like that out here protecting and serving all of us," said Walls.
Along with being a deputy, McCrary teaches law and public safety at the Career Technical Center in Athens.
"The only thing about our job is nothing is normal," said Tyler. "We don't know what the next call will be like; we don't know what's going to be on the other side of the next door that we open. We don't know what awaits."
McCrary has been with the department since 2011. Prior to that, he was with Limestone County.
The Lauderdale County Chief Deputy said he is not sure if McCrary was wearing a vest or not. The department said vests are issued to all deputies, and it is highly recommended they wear them, but it is not mandatory in most departments.
According to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, more than 48,000 officers were assaulted while in the line of duty in 2014. 28 percent of those officers were injured.
In a release, the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office said Deputy Randall McCrary remains in Huntsville Hospital's Surgical Intensive Care Unit where he is recovering. Deputy McCrary came through the surgery well and is alert and communicating with family and co-workers. He is expected to remain in SICU for the next couple of days and if all goes well, he should be moved to a room at that time.
Please help spread the word and use the buttons below to share this story.