Man arrested by Walker Co. Sheriff’s deputies dies in custody; mother files lawsuit claiming he froze to death

The mother of Anthony Don Mitchell, 33, filed the lawsuit, alleging abuse and neglect leading to her son’s death. (Source: WBRC)
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 2:36 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2023 at 11:00 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE: A new federal lawsuit claims Anthony “Tony” Mitchell froze to death while in custody in Walker County. His mother filed the lawsuit.

WBRC reached out to ALEA for a statement, and this was their response:

“We are aware of the allegations. The matter is being investigated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  Once the investigation is completed, the Attorney General will ensure that any appropriate action is taken.”

The following statement is what ALEA released Jan. 30:

On Thursday, Jan. 26, at the request of the Walker County Sheriff’s Office, Special Agents with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) launched an in-custody death investigation that occurred at approximately 1 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 26, at Walker Baptist Hospital in Jasper.

Anthony Don Mitchell, 33, of Carbon Hill, was arrested by the Walker County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, Jan. 12, and was being held in the Walker County Jail. Mitchell was transported to Walker Baptist Hospital for evaluation on Thursday morning and became unresponsive at the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. An autopsy will be conducted by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

Nothing further is available as the investigation remains ongoing. Once complete, the findings will be turned over to the Walker County District Attorney’s Office.

ORIGINAL: A man arrested by Walker County Sheriff’s deputies died in custody, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA).

ALEA says on Jan. 26, the Walker County Sheriff’s Office requested an ALEA investigation of an in-custody death that occurred at Walker Baptist Hospital in Jasper.

ALEA says Anthony “Tony” Mitchell, 33, of Carbon Hill was arrested on Jan. 12 and being held in the Walker County Jail. Mitchell was taken to the hospital on Jan. 26 for an evaluation, and became unresponsive at the hospital and later died.

An autopsy will be conducted by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

The Walker County Sheriff’s Office originally posted this on its Facebook page regarding the incident:

“On January 12, the Walker County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a concerned family member of a Carbon Hill man.

The caller stated that Anthony “Tony” Mitchell had made statements to them that raised concern, insinuating that Mitchell may harm himself or others. Deputies responded to the scene to perform a welfare check on the individual.

When Deputies arrived, they observed Mitchell in the front yard of the residence. Mitchell immediately brandished a handgun, and fired at least one shot at Deputies before retreating into a wooded area behind his home. A call of “shots fired” was announced, and all available assistance was en route.

Coincidentally, the call came over the radio as our SWAT unit was finishing a training exercise. Immediately, our SWAT unit, Patrol, Narcotics, and Investigative Divisions, Sheriff Smith, and others were en route to the scene.

SWAT established and secured a perimeter around the home. The Walker County District Attorney’s Office was made aware of the situation, and they worked quickly to secure a warrant for Mitchell with a charge of Attempted Murder. Investigators also began to track his cell phone location and interviewed family members near the scene.

During this time, the Aviation Division was deployed, along with the Alabama Department of Corrections K9 Unit from Donaldson Correctional Facility. Aviation Commander Ray Capps and Deputy/Pilot Cody Waldrop spotted a large metal structure in the woods just to the north of the residence. Mitchell’s family members informed law enforcement that he would possibly be hiding in that structure.

After the warrant was obtained, SWAT Commander Tony Reid led his men into the residence and cleared it without locating Mitchell.

They then turned their attention toward the shelter mentioned previously, still unsure if Mitchell would be hiding in the woods watching them.

As the SWAT Unit converged onto the structure in the woods, they deployed a distraction device to divert the attention of Mitchell in case he would be in the building. They then spotted Mitchell in the building, and were able to take him into custody while he was disoriented. He was immediately checked out by Regional Paramedical Services, who had staged at the scene with law enforcement.

Mitchell was booked into the Walker County Jail on charges of Attempted Murder. During the investigation, deputies also recovered Methamphetamine, heroin, and a handgun from the location.

This situation could have ended much differently if it weren’t for the constant training of our department, incredible work by our dispatchers, assistance from other agencies, and the quick help of District Attorney Bill Adair’s Office. Thankfully, the day ended with everyone safe.”

Get news alerts in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or subscribe to our email newsletter here.