Late Tuesday night, a police officer lost his life in Mobile, Alabama in a standoff while approaching a murder suspect. The suspect also lost his life. Given below are the details of the case.
Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste said that the Alabama police officer who was shot in Mobile’s Toulminville neighborhood was Justin Billa. The shooter is identified as Robert Hollie. Earlier in the evening, Billa was responding to the home of a suspect in a homicide call in the same neighborhood.
Chief Battiste explained that in this case, a woman was discovered dead in the middle of the road with a gunshot wound. The authorities were quick to declare Hollie as the person of interest in the murder. Therefore, they went to Hollie’s house.
In the standoff between Hollie and the authorities, the police officer was killed. As Billa approached the suspect, he was shot by him in the area of Crawford Lane and Avondale Court near MLK Avenue. After Hollie shot Billa, he shut himself in the house at around 12:30 a.m. After almost three hours, there was an end to the barricade situation.
Battiste also stated that the officers shot a couple of times at the suspect, but they are not sure if he died due to the gunshots by the authorities or self-inflicted gunshots.
The woman who was found in the middle of the road was Fonda Poellnitz. Her daughter, Octavia Poellnitz, explained that Fonda’s ex-husband Hollie murdered her on the way back from choir practice. Octavia said, “He didn’t love my momma.”
Billa was an officer since January 2016. And in June 2016, he won the MPD’s Police Officer of the Month award. In July, in an interview, Billa explained the importance of creating relationships in the community. Billa said, “We need to go back to helping people instead of just taking them to jail and creating bigger problems. That’s my ideal of good policing and I feel like that’s what the chief is working towards.” Billa was loved immensely by his family. He is survived by his wife and a one-year-old son.