A Georgia man caused chaos in Dothan when he went on a crime rampage early Wednesday morning that culminated into a police standoff on Denton Road.
Jeffrey Michael Stewart, of Jakin, was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital, where he is recovering from surgery to remove a bullet from his abdomen.
Dothan Police Chief Will Benny called the spree “a major event” that started when the communications center received a 9-1-1 call about a vehicle striking multiple vehicles in the Motel 6 parking lot in the 2900 block of Ross Clark Circle.
“That started a chain of events which led to the vehicle going to the Volkswagen dealership after shooting at several vehicles along the way,” Benny said during an afternoon press conference at the Dothan Police Department.
While at the dealership, Stewart confronted a woman and her daughter who were there to drop off a vehicle. He fired one shot at the daughter and then attempted to carjack her mom.
A Dothan police officer arrived on scene and began exchanging gunfire with Stewart.
“While moving for a more tactical advantage as the suspect approached, the police officer left his patrol car,” Benny said. “The suspect received a gunshot wound and he then entered the patrol car and began a chase that went all the way around the Circle.”
The police pursuit ended in the 3200 block of Denton Road when the car the suspect was driving struck a police car. The collision “incapacitated” the car, Benny said.
A trained negotiator took over, speaking to Stewart via the police car’s communications and was able to get him to surrender. He exited the car with ankle shackles on his wrists.
“This was an event that you can't plan for, can't really prevent. What did happen today was, I believe a mass casualty event was avoided by the courageousness of all involved: the Dothan Police Department, Houston County Sheriff's Department, Alabama State Troopers, and even ALDOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) helped out with traffic control.”
The events surrounding the officer-involved shooting at the car dealership and the following chase are being investigated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s State Bureau of Investigation division, which is protocol for all officer-involved shootings.
Once the investigation is complete, the findings will be turned over to the Houston County District Attorney’s Office.
Benny said Stewart will be facing multiple charges when he is released from the hospital and DPD will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.