Officer cleared in shooting case

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Selma Police Officer Reginald Fitts returned to duty this week after being cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting of his 11-year-old nephew.

Steven Starr Fitts was shot in the mouth and neck on Jan. 27 during a visit to his grandmother’s home to pick up some clothes, according Steven Simpson, the boy’s father.

The younger Fitts was later transported to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham for treatment.

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He underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the injuries caused by the bullet, which included having his teeth knocked out and a hole in his tongue, according to Simpson.

The Selma Police Department, which called the shooting “accidental,” placed Fitts on paid administrative leave during a three-month investigation by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the local District Attorney’s Office.

District Attorney Michael Jackson said Tuesday the ABI’s final report of the investigation, which was completed April 6, concluded that the shooting was indeed accidental and no charges will be filed against Officer Fitts.

Interim Selma Police Chief Jimmy Martin said he was not surprised by the outcome of the investigation

“I’m glad to have him back,” Martin said. “The police department is happy to see him on his patrol again.”

Martin added that the entire incident was “unfortunate” for both Officer Fitts and his family.

“I’m glad to see it’s over with,” Martin said.

Just a few days before the shooting, Officer Fitts was one of five local police officers who received Certificates of Commendation from the City of Selma for saving the life of 43-year-old man trapped in a burning building.

During the commendation ceremony

on Jan. 24, Fitts and the other officers received high praise from Martin and Mayor James Perkins for their work.