Montgomery mayor promises transparency in fatal officer-involved shooting case

Published: Feb. 26, 2016 at 11:22 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 27, 2016 at 11:34 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Mayor Todd Strange is promising transparency and asking for patience as Thursday's deadly officer-involved shooting is investigated.

Strange, who is out of the country, spoke to members of the media for the first time since the shooting in a phone conference call Friday afternoon.

"We will get to the facts. It will be open. It will be transparent, and wherever the facts lead us, that will then tell us what our next steps will be. I understand that there is frustration right now. The SBI will not do a quick investigation, they will do a thorough investigation," Strange said.

A Montgomery police officer shot and killed 59-year-old Gregory Gunn on McElvey Street early Thursday morning in the Mobile Heights neighborhood.

According to Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley, the officer noticed something "suspicious" about Gunn. During the phone conference Friday, the mayor declined to get into specifics on just what it was about Gunn that caught the officer's attention.

The police officer got out of his patrol car, approached Gunn and there was a struggle that lasted a block, Finley said. In the end, the officer fired several shots and hit Gunn. Gunn died on the scene.

Police haven't identified the officer, but Finley said the officer has been with the Montgomery Police Department for less than four years.

Kenneth Gunn said his brother worked at the Foodland grocery store on the Southern Boulevard and usually got off work at 10:30 or 11 p.m. Kenneth Gunn said his brother had just left his girlfriend's home and was walking to his mom's house two blocks away at the time of the shooting.

Arryn Jordan says he is Gunn's nephew.

"You want to pick on a person because he's got black on, because he's got a hood on. Okay, he worked at the grocery store in the meat department. You gotta wear a hood. It's cold. Ok, he proceeded to his home where he come every night -- late night. Get up and do the same thing," Jordan said.

Finley, Strange and Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey say the investigation is in full swing, handled entirely for now by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency or ALEA.

Strange said he reached out to federal authorities through Montgomery Public Safety Director Chris Murphy.

"We wanted to be sure everybody is involved that needs to be involved. I have not personally spoke to anyone with the FBI. Chris Murphy is at a FBI training seminar in California has reached out to them," Strange said.

The mayor plans to have a news conference Monday afternoon at city hall once he gets the latest on the investigation and to dispel what he calls "rumors" circulating about the shooting.

The investigation is expected to take weeks.

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