Security guard, 80, shot dead, another hurt at Jeffco mine; victim’s stolen car recovered after chase, driver found dead
Shootings overnight in Jefferson County left one mine security guard critically injured and another dead, the third homicide countywide in just a matter of hours.
It appears the two security guards worked at the same active strip mine but were shot roughly six hours apart.
The first victim was able to drive himself to get help after he was shot, but the second victim – an 80-year-old man – was found dead Wednesday morning.
The 80-year-old victim’s stolen vehicle was recovered after a Wednesday afternoon chase that started in Cullman County and ended in Winston County. The driver of the stolen vehicle was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Jefferson County sheriff’s Sgt. Joni Money confirmed that was the vehicle belonging to the victim, but she could not confirm any other details about the driver’s connection to the Jefferson County shootings.
Money stressed that the shootings did not have anything to do with the ongoing mine strike in Jefferson County.
The ordeal began about 1 a.m.
Wednesday when the sheriff’s office received a call that had been transferred to them from the Bessemer Police Department reporting that a male had been shot.
Money said the victim had been taken to the hospital but was unable to speak with detectives.
Medical personnel gave detectives what information they had been able to get from the victim, and determined the shooting was said to have happened near the 4000 block of Blue Creek Road in western Jefferson County.
The victim had been able to drive himself to a location on Powder Plant Road, where he made contact with authorities.
Deputies went to Blue Creek Road but were unable to locate a crime scene due to the vast area of vacant land at the location, Money said. The 44-year-old is currently at UAB Hospital and is reported to be in critical but stable condition.
Then, about 6:40 a.m., deputies were dispatched to the 4000 block of Blue Creek Road again, this time on a report of a dead person.
Deputies arrived to find an 80-year-old man dead from an apparent gunshot wound. The victim’s 2005 black Cadillac Escalade SUV bearing Alabama tag 1CT7896 was taken from the scene.
Money said both victims worked at the Blue Creek Road location as security guards at an active strip mine.
The body of the second victim was located by contractors who arrived at the strip pit this morning to work.
It appears the shootings happened at the same place but hours apart. The surviving victim was shot first, and then the fatality victim was shot more than six hours later when he showed up to work.
At about 12:45 p.m., Cullman County sheriff’s deputies observed a suspicious vehicle, said Cullman County Deputy Chad Whaley.
During the investigation of the vehicle, it was determined the vehicle was reported to be stolen and involved in a homicide in Jefferson County.
The suspect refused to stop and attempted to elude deputies. The pursuit continued on Highway 278 westbound.
Ultimately, the suspect vehicle became stuck as the suspect continued to try and elude law enforcement.
The suspect then fled on foot and stole another vehicle, Whaley said. The pursuit continued toward Winston County.
Other law enforcement agencies became involved in the pursuit. Addison Police Department was able to successfully deploy spike strips and eventually disable the vehicle.
Once the vehicle was stopped and the pursuit ended, deputies discovered the suspect was deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The case will be turned over to SBI for further investigation
In other overnight homicides, 32-year-old Michael Martez Johnson was shot about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday while sitting in a vehicle in the 200 block of third Avenue S.W. in Birmingham. He was pronounced dead on the scene at 10:45 p.m.
A 22-year-woman in the passenger’s seat was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Police said the preliminary investigation suggests an unknown suspect approached the vehicle on foot then fired shots into the victims’ vehicle before fleeing the scene.
No arrests have been made.
Less than an hour earlier, 37-year-old Timothy Darius Biffle was killed in a shooting inside an apartment on Chalkville Manor Drive.
Few details have been released, but a suspect was charged with manslaughter in Biffle’s death.
So far in November, 19 people have been victims of homicide countywide. Those slayings have taken place in Birmingham, unincorporated Jefferson County, Brighton, Lipscomb, Bessemer and Tarrant.
There were only 11 homicides in all of November in 2020.
Countywide, there have been 180 homicides this year. As of Nov.
24, 2020, there had been 160 homicides.
The investigation into the double shooting in Jefferson County is still underway as detectives are developing new leads.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 205-325-1450 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.