By Erica Wright
The Birmingham police officer slain in the line of duty early Sunday morning was very compassionate and a natural born leader and prayers are being asked for his family, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Birmingham Chief of Police, Patrick Smith said on Sunday.
The deceased officer has been identified as Sergeant Wytasha Carter.
“Sergeant Carter has served in law enforcement for the past 16 years, he’s served in Birmingham for the last eight years and everyone around him who has worked with him has indicated he was a very compassionate, natural born leader,” said Smith.
The shooting is being investigated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).
Officers were responding to the 900 block of 5th Avenue North when they approached two suspects just before 2:00 a.m.
When officers discovered a weapon on one of the suspects, he opened fire, killing one officer and critically injuring the other.
Smith said that one suspect, age 31, is also in critical condition and the second suspect, age 18, is in custody. The chief said there could be a third suspect still on the loose.
“We will keep all options open, we’re trying to determine exactly how many people were there, exactly what occurred and all of this falls under the scope of their [SBI] investigation,” said Smith, about a possible third suspect.
Authorities have not yet released the name of the second officer but said the officer has been with the force for two years.
Smith said that fellow officers enjoyed working with and around Carter.
“They appreciated his friendship, his compassion and everything that he brought to the Birmingham Police Department. We’ve endured a great loss and not only does North Precinct feel it, it is felt all across this department. As we continue to pray for Sergeant Carter’s family, please keep in mind to yield your prayers to our officer who is still in intensive care at UAB… his condition is very critical.”
Woodfin asked for the continued prayers for Carter’s family, the second officer, and the entire department.
“Our entire community is mourning,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to talk with many officers who knew Sgt. Carter very well, friends with Sgt. Carter, worked in various capacities with him and their hearts are heavy as they continue to try to do their work.
“It’s important that we keep in mind that the officers out there that continue to work and serve this community every single day, I want them to hear this from me that even in this time that is tough, to keep their head up and to know that their mayor, their City Council, and the entire community is with them.”
Smith also thanked police officers and departments across the state as well as the country for their support and help during this difficult time.
“I want to thank our law enforcement partners, I’ve gotten emails, calls and text messages from people all across the country and from police departments I’ve never heard of but they still share and feel the pain of what we are having to endure today,” he said.
This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.