Attacks on officers believed to be retaliation

Published 9:57 pm Monday, April 2, 2018

Multiple attacks on Selma police officers over the weekend are believed to be in response to a drug trafficking arrest, according to Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier.

According to an arrest report from the Dallas County Jail, 21-year-old Marquill Garner of Selma was arrested Friday, charged with drug trafficking and booked into the Dallas County Jail under a $1.5 million bond.

“We believe both incidents were intentional ambushes. Responding to a call with minimal details is dangerous,” Collier said in a statement. “It is imminently more dangerous when the sole unknown intent is to fire upon officers as they first arrive or attempt to exit their vehicles.”

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A Selma police officer’s patrol car was struck by gunfire Saturday night while responding to a call near George Washington Carver Homes.

The officer was not injured, but this incident marks the second time over the weekend officers were shot at.

Around 10:45 p.m., officers responded to a call concerning armed subjects walking through GWC Homes.

Collier said once officers arrived and exited their vehicles, a male subject turned around and fired multiple rounds at the officers. The subject then fled on foot. Officers responded to a similar call a short time later and were ambushed as they arrived on scene, according to Collier. One of the officer’s patrol cars was struck by a bullet, but the officer was not hit. Collier said an AR-15 rifle was recovered at the location of the shooting.

Friday night, as officers were clearing the scene of a shooting with victim in front of Brown Chapel AME Church, multiple shots were fired at officers. One of them struck the ground nearby, causing them to take cover behind nearby vehicles.

Collier said after those officers were extracted from the scene, around 200 more shots were fired from multiple areas. After a brief planning period, Collier said several officers and the Selma FAST (Fugitive Apprehension & Special Tactics) team swept through GWC and cleared the area. No arrests were made.

According to Collier, the department finished both nights with more than 20 officers armed with rifles on patrol.

He said the department will continue a heightened presence in the area.

“It is cowardice conduct carried out by cowards. We are going to do everything in our power to make sure our officers go home after every shift,” Collier said.

He said the department is looking at every aspect of the suspected drug operation they believe is responsible for the attacks.