BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham police officers flooded the streets of downtown Birmingham, bathing the scene in blue light for blocks, after Cullen Stafford was shot Wednesday evening while in the line of duty.
Officers were responding to an armed robbery in progress at a convenience store in the 500 block of 23rd Street North.
According to Police Chief Patrick Smith, when police tried to apprehend the suspect, the suspect pulled out a handgun and began firing shots.
Cullen was shot at least five to seven times. He was shot once in the face, as well as in the chest and legs. He was taken to UAB Hospital where he underwent surgery.
Cullen’s injuries come just one day before his 36th birthday.
“This is a very tough job and we have officers who are here that we’ve provided a lot of training to, a lot of support. We’re going to continue to support them throughout the process just like we did during the time we lost Sergeant Carter,” said Smith.
Condolences began to pour in from city officials. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin tweeted.
Officer Cullen is a nine year veteran of the police department and a Birmingham native. He attended Homewood high school and the University of Alabama.
WBRC’s Clare Huddleston reflects on a personal connection with the man behind the blue uniform.
“We were good friends in high school. We’d always hang out. I know him in college. He was just a great guy, still is a great guy. He loved the outdoors. That’s what I remember the most about him.”
Officer Cullen underwent surgery at UAB and according to Birmingham information officer Sgt. Johnny Williams, is currently in stable condition. Williams reports officer Staffords surgery went as well as could be expected and that more surgeries will come.
After Officer Cullen was shot on Wednesday, the suspect continued to fire a weapon and police officers began to return the fire.
Gunfire was exchanged over multiple locations before the suspect was pronounced dead at a scene near a parking structure.