BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — In a final act of service, Deputy Brad Johnson became an organ donor to help others live.
Johnson and fellow Deputy Chris Poole were shot Wednesday while chasing a suspect in a stolen car. Johnson was pronounced decreased Thursday afternoon.
After a manhunt overnight, Austin Patrick Hall, 26, was taken into custody early Thursday. Hall faces capital murder charges and is being held in the Shelby County Jail without bond. He will have a virtual hearing Friday morning at 11 a.m.
The law enforcement community from across the state is mourning the loss of Deputy Johnson. Many honored their brother in blue at UAB Hospital, gathering outside the Legacy of Hope organ donation center to bid him farewell.
Just after 6 p.m. Thursday, Johnson took his honor walk.
“Once you get into the law enforcement family, you’re family,” Alabama’s Fraternal Order of Police President Everett Johnson said. “This is senseless and there’s been a lot of frustration and anger in the law enforcement community right now over this incident.”
Johnson said the police community statewide is feeling shocked and sad, as dozens of officers and their families to said goodbye to their brother.
“Just because you wear a different uniform or a different badge for a different agency, we all are family, we all are brothers and sisters in the blue,” Johnson said. “When the call goes out and an officer needs help, everybody responds to that.”
Johnson said it all comes back to the justice system keeping violent criminals off of the streets to serve their whole sentence in prison.
“Why [was Hall] not in prison? Someone needs to answer for that. This family and this community is owed an explanation for why this man [was] out,” he said. “Because we have all those officials in place that are willing to make deals to put violent offenders back on the street. I believe this situation is just another example of that.”
Bibb County Sheriff Jody Wade released a statement regarding Johnson and his service with the department.
“A coward dies a thousand deaths, but a hero only dies one. Deputy Brad Johnson is a hero. This tragedy is truly beyond what words can describe as heartbreaking. We lost a Sheriff’s Deputy and beloved colleague, the community lost a great leader with a servant’s heart but worst of all, his children lost their father. This event has shaken this community to its core; however, we will persevere to overcome this horrible situation and will continue on with the same resolve and dedication that Brad shared with us every single day. I pledge that Brad’s memory will live on through our actions and we are committed to sharing his legacy with unwavering devotion.”Bibb County Sheriff Jody Wade
Departments across the state continue to show support for Deputy Johnson across social media and beyond, hopeful something like this never happens to another agency again. He will continue to save lives at the clinic before he is laid to rest.