Authorities with the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation have started an investigation into the shooting of an Opelika man by Auburn police officers Sunday, according to the Lee County District Attorney’s Office.
Auburn police shot and injured Justin Tearrius Lewis, 20, of Opelika, after police responded to a suspicious person report at Town Creek Park at about 8:15 p.m. Sunday and began talking to Lewis, police said.
Lewis, who was previously reported as missing, endangered and possibly armed on Saturday, fled while speaking to police and drew a handgun and shot at them, police said.
With the help of officers with the Opelika Police Department, deputies with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and authorities with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, law enforcement officials were able to locate Lewis near the entrance of the park at East University Drive at about 11:30 p.m., at which point police said Lewis fired again at officers and officers returned fire, injuring Lewis.
After officers shot Lewis, emergency personnel immediately rendered medical aid and transported him to the Piedmont Medical Center in Columbus, Ga., where he is reported to be in stable condition, the district attorney’s office said.
Immediately following the shooting incident, the Auburn Police Division notified and requested the assistance of state investigators, who decided to treat the incident as two separate investigations, the DA’s office said.
While state investigators are leading the investigation into the shooting of Lewis by law enforcement, the Opelika Police Department will investigate Lewis’ actions towards APD officers in Town Creek Park, according to the DA’s office.
“The District Attorney’s Office will assist and advise on any criminal issues that may arise out of either of these investigations,” Lee County District Attorney Pro Tem Jessica Ventiere said in a statement. “Both agencies will present their cases to the District Attorney’s Office for review and presentation to a Lee County Grand Jury. The State Bureau of Investigation, Auburn Police Division, Opelika Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office are committed to ensuring that a professional and impartial review of the evidence will be conducted.”