Tuscaloosa police officer death marks 4th Alabama officer death in 2019


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The death of Tuscaloosa Police officer Dornell Cousette marks the fourth deadly officer shooting in Alabama this year.

Since January, Birmingham officer Sgt. Wytasha Carter, Mobile Officer Sean Tuder, Auburn Officer William Buechner and now, Cousette have been killed in the line of duty.

Cousette, 40, was killed Monday, September 16, when he was made aware that 20-year-old Luther Bernard Watkins whereabouts in Tuscaloosa. Watkins had outstanding warrants involving different robbery charges.

Officials said Cousette, who was on duty and in full uniform, drove by a residence and observed Watkins on the front lawn. Seeing Cousette, Watkins fled to another residence next door and Cousette pursued him inside the house.

“Almost immediately, gunfire erupted inside,” Lt. Jack Kennedy said. “Both were struck and Watkins fled.”

He was a 13-year veteran on the force. Cousette is the fourth officer to die this year in Alabama.

In January, Sgt. Wytasha Carter, 44, was killed while investigating a stem of car burglaries in the 900 block of 5th Avenue North just before gunfire. He and another officer were shot that night. Officer Lucas Allums was injured, but able to make a recovery.

Carter began his service with BPD in 2011. He worked at the West Precinct, HICOPP and Youth Services as a school resource officer. He was promoted to sergeant in February of 2018.

According to BPD, “Sergeant Carter began his law enforcement career in 2002 as a correctional officer with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. Later that year he joined the Leeds Police Department where he served as an officer. In 2007, Sergeant Carter joined the Fairfield Police Department until transferring to the Birmingham Police Department.

Also in January, Officer Tuder, 30, was shot and killed Sunday in West Mobile while working undercover.  Tuder entered an apartment complex after receiving information on a person of interest. That’s when the suspect, Marco Perez, rushed toward him, Mobile Police report.

That’s when an altercation ensued and Tuder was shot multiple times.

In April, Auburn police officer William Buechner was killed when he and other officers Webb Sistrunk and Evan Elliott were responding to a domestic disturbance call at a mobile home park. Buechner served the city of Auburn Police Department for 13 years.

The suspect, Grady Wayne Wilkes, 29, opened fire at the door striking Buechner. He was transported to the hospital where he was late pronounced dead.

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