Montgomery Police Mourn the Loss of Another Officer; Second in 27 Days

It's another tragedy for an already emotionally battered and bruised Montgomery Police Department.

A newly promoted detective died Friday morning in a traffic accident as he responded to a crime scene.

When we spoke with officers, once again we saw red eyes and heard shaky voices.   As Chief Art Baylor said, police officers are human too, and this third death is particularly rough on them.

"Corporal Armstrong passed 7:40."

It's a voice you rarely hear from Chief Art Baylor. A voice filled with pain.

Ddetective Kenneth Armstrong was 32 years old, in the prime of his life, married, the father of two children, and just six weeks into a promotion and new job.

"When he went to the detective division, and I happened to see him several times, I'd ask him if he'd learned anything yet," Baylor explained.  "He'd say, I ain't learned anything yet, but I'm working on it, chief, I'm working on it."

Armstrong was driving into work on Union Street when a robbery call came over the radio. He made a u-turn and a car with two city workers coming from the opposite direction hit him broadside.

"The assistant chief of the paramedics, he said, 'he's in bad shape,' and that's why I left and headed over to Jackson," the Chief said.

Dozens of officers gathered hoping for a better outcome, but Armstrong died about 30 minutes later.

His death comes less than a month after Officer RE McCrory died in another accident - and less than a year since a suspect shot Officer Keith Houts.

"He (Armstrong) was a good officer," said Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright.  "Lot of folks say they enjoyed working with him, had a lot of good things to say about him. Had a lot of friends show up this morning and of course they heavily grieve his loss."

Police say a short time after WSFA reported the officer's death, the robbery suspect turned himself into police headquarters.  Chauncy George now faces a single count of Robbery First degree.

We asked Chief Baylor who might take the blame for the accident that killed Kenneth Armstrong - or if the driver of the second car might face any charges.

Baylor told us investigators have yet to decide the sequence of events that led to the wreck; whether Armstrong might have made a mistake or if the other driver was speeding.

Alabama state troopers have now taken over that investigation.

Police say they have few details on any memorials for detective armstrong because family members are flying in from around the country.

But Chief Baylor says the department will hold appropriate services for their fallen comrade.