BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An off-duty Birmingham police officer was shot Sunday while responding to a robbery, the department chief said.
Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith told news outlets that Detective John Finke was shot twice in the abdomen. Two suspects are in custody, he said.
“He has made it through surgery and is in critical condition,” Smith told reporters. “We are praying very hard for him.”
Today, Detective John Finke of the Birmingham Police Department, while working off-duty at his church, responded to a call about a robbery in the Woodlawn area and was shot. Detective Finke is out of surgery, but not out of danger. Please pray for his full recovery. #ThinBlueLine pic.twitter.com/jjr4lrvQy8
— AG Steve Marshall (@AGSteveMarshall) January 26, 2020
Mayor Woodfin: Tonight we wrap our arms around officer John Finke, his family and the entire Birmingham Police Department. Our officers risk their lives each and every time they step out of their doors for the betterment of our communities"https://t.co/fDQhDwqw9n
— carol robinson (@RobinsonCarol) January 27, 2020
The shooting happened in the Woodlawn community where the officer was working security at a church Sunday morning.
Smith said it appears the officer “may have observed the robbery in progress” and responded.
Smith said the officer confronted the suspects, and that’s when the shooting occurred. Smith said the officer returned fire, but it does not appear the suspects were hit. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency will investigate since it is an officer-involved shooting, the chief said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer John Finke who has served our church for 8 years at our Woodlawn campus. He was critically injured today after responding to an incident in the Woodlawn community today and… https://t.co/qD0lVx3WYT
— Chris Hodges (@Chris_Hodges) January 26, 2020
Investigators took two people into custody after tracking two cellphones stolen in the robbery, Smith said. He said investigators also recovered a gun that will be tested to see if it was the one used to shoot the detective.
Finke has been with the department since 2005 and is a detective in the narcotics division, Smith said. He was working security at the Church of the Highlands, a large nondenominational church in the area.
Smith said Finke is married and has a daughter in college.
Officer Involved shooting update pic.twitter.com/1HkxjNXKq7
— Birmingham Police (@BhamPolice) January 26, 2020