BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Authorities said an east Alabama police officer shot and seriously wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a homicide suspect was improving Sunday as investigators tried to verify the identities of three people whose slayings sparked a two-county pursuit.
Heflin police officer Jackie Stovall was removed from a breathing machine and remained hospitalized in stable condition in Anniston a day after Saturday's shootings. Stovall was progressing faster than expected, police said.
Stovall asked about his parents and grandchild as soon as he could speak, Heflin's interim police chief, A.J. Benefield, said in a post on the department's Facebook page. Then, Benefield said, Stovall asked, "Did y'all get him?"
"I was happy to tell him, 'Yes, we did,' and no one else will have to worry about him doing anything like this again," wrote Benefield.
Stovall was seriously wounded during a chase that began in Cleburne County and ended in Calhoun County with officers shooting and killing Romero Roberto Moya, 33, of Heflin.
Court records show Moya was arrested by the Calhoun-Cleburne County Drug Task Force last year on charges of cocaine trafficking, drug possession and illegal possession of a pistol.
Moya pleaded guilty to trafficking in June 2011 in a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to drop the other charges. He received a one-year prison sentence, was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and surrender the weapon, but it was unclear whether he already had served the time or paid the fine.
Cleburne County Sheriff Joe Jacks said investigators believe Moya killed three people who were found dead in a mobile home located in a rundown trailer community across the road from a poultry plant. At least one child was hurt, Jacks said.