Shots fired at Jacksonville police officer; shooter escapes

Jacksonville police are looking for a man who fired shots at an officer Friday.

Chief Tommy Thompson said an officer was on patrol at Henry Farm Park between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m.

"He went down and checked the concession, came back up by the playground area and noticed a subject squatted down in that area. [The officer] stopped his vehicle and went to approach him," Thompson said.

"He ran toward the walking trail and got on the trail, and the officer got on the trail behind him. He got on one of the bridges up there and the suspect turned and fired two shots at the officer," he said. "Thank goodness neither of them was hit."

The park is near Jacksonville Regional Medical Center. Police put the hospital on lock down, and officers with tactical rifles and protective vests guarded the entrances.

Calhoun County deputies brought a tracking dog, and Thompson said officers tracked the man into a marshy area. Alabama State Troopers sent a search helicopter which circled the area as it used thermal imaging equipment to scan. They determined no one was hiding in the woods, and ended the search shortly after midnight.

Police plan to resume the investigation in the daylight Saturday. Nearly 20 officers were involved in Friday's search, including Weaver Police and Jacksonville State University Police.

The officer described the suspect as between 5'7" and 5'9" tall, and weighing about 140 pounds. He wore a black shirt and a black backpack.

Thompson said based on the shooter's size, he is probably high school age, but might be in his early 20s.

If you have any information, contact Jacksonville Police at (256) 435-6448.