Alabama deputy, motorcyclist nicknamed ‘Squirrel’ get into gunfight, both wounded

Published 5:29 pm Wednesday, October 20, 2021

An Alabama sheriff’s deputy and a motorcyclist exchanged gunfire Wednesday during a traffic stop in a rural community, injuring both people, a sheriff said.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said a deputy pulled over a motorcycle driver for a traffic violation in the Beauregard community, but the rider tried to speed away and crashed a short distance away.

An initial investigation showed the motorcyclist pulled a gun and shot at the deputy, who was in his car after driving to the crash site, Jones said. The deputy returned fire, wounding the motorist.

The deputy, who the sheriff described as a 33-year-old Army veteran, was wounded mainly in the hands and an arm and is expected to recover, he said. The deputy was taken to a hospital in Columbus, Georgia.

Opelika police identified the motorist as John “Squirrel” Cross, 42, of Lee County. He was treated under guard at a hospital in Columbus and authorities charged him with attempted murder, a statement said.

Jones told a news conference it appeared the officer acted properly, but an investigation will determine exactly what happened.