MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Auburn Police Division released new information Monday related to the shooting of a police officer.
Officer Justin Sanders was shot multiple times while conducting a traffic stop involving a robbery suspect Friday night. The suspect, Christopher James Wallace, 38, and an unidentified woman, later died during a standoff with law enforcement at an apartment complex.
Auburn Police Chief Paul Register confirmed Monday that Wallace killed the female suspect and then shot himself during the standoff.
The Lee County SWAT Team made entry into Wallace’s relative’s apartment, used tear gas as a distraction and a fire was sparked at some point, setting the entire building ablaze. What started the fire is still under investigation.
The police chief said the incident started when Wallace went into a pharmacy Friday looking for drugs. The police were called, and Wallace fit the description of the robbery suspect.
Sanders stopped the vehicle Wallace was traveling in near the Dollar General on Opelika Road. During the traffic stop, Wallace got out of the passenger side of the vehicle and fired shots at Sanders, the police chief said.
The female driver’s name hasn’t been released. Police are still trying to notify her family. She was 36 years old and wasn’t related to Sanders.
Register said law enforcement in Barbour County relayed key information to Auburn police while they were searching for Wallace. He also said Wallace is a “strong suspect” in the disappearance of his wife, Lisa Wallace, who has been missing from Eufaula since 2012.
Register said Sanders is still at UAB Hospital. He is doing much better but will need additional surgeries down the road. The chief added that Sanders’ training and equipment likely saved his life.
A GoFundMe page has been created to support Sanders, a five-year veteran of the force. The page has raised more than $22,000 in just one day.