Police chief responds to officer-involved shooting

Hannah Zimmer Managing Editor

UNA Police Chief Kevin Gillilan said he believed UNA officer responded correctly regarding the recent shooting July 12.

Since the July 9 incident, the officer was placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

The investigation is now spearheaded by the State Bureau of Investigation to ensure that the case is handled impartially, but Gillilan said UNAPD has the authority to dictate the future of officer.

“We have the ability to bring him back if we feel that he’s ready,” Gillilan said. “There were no policy violations within this incident.”

Despite being unharmed physically, Gillilan said the incident is something that will haunt the officer for the rest of his life therefore he wants to be sure the officer is mentally prepared before returning to the work force.

As for Jessica Dye, she was taken to Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital and has yet to give a statement about the incident.

Furthermore, Gillilan revealed that there was a body camera involved in the incident but it is the SBI’s decision to release the video or not.

“We will follow suit with whatever the State Bureau decides to do with the video,” Gillilan said.

Gillilan said he believed the officer responded correctly because his life was in danger.

“The officer was a 5-year veteran,” Gillilan said. “We support our officer and his actions.”

At approximately 3:10 a.m. July 9, an unnamed UNA police officer initiated a traffic stop for multiple traffic violations, suspecting the driver to be impaired, Gillilan said.

“At the time of the traffic stop, the driver of the vehicle was unable to produce a driver’s license or registration,” Gillilan said. “Subsequently, the officer confirmed that Dye has a criminal record and was subject of an outstanding arrest warrant at that time.”

The officer directed Dye to get out of the vehicle so he could take her into custody, but she would not comply. She then re-engaged her vehicle by shifting it into reverse and accelerating toward the officer.

The officer fired multiple rounds and injured the driver. He then approached the vehicle again to “control the situation and coordinate necessary medical treatment.”

“The officer immediately called for an ambulance to treat Dye for injuries sustained during the incident,” Gillilan said.

Dye persistently tried to flee the scene. Against the officer’s orders, she jumped the curb and continued southbound on Pine Street until she hit a utility pole at the intersection of Pine Street and College Street.

Gillilan said the officer did not fire any more shots at this point since Dye was no longer accelerating in his direction.

The SBI will release any additional information and handle any additional inquiries.

Stick with the Flor-Ala to see how the story unfolds.