Robbery suspect found guilty of shooting at Phenix City police

tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.comApril 25, 2014 

Anderson

Columbus armed robbery suspect Robert Lorenzo Anderson has been found guilty of firing at law enforcement officers trying to capture him July 25, 2013.

Phenix City police responding to a 4:20 p.m. report of shots fired at Riverview Apartments off Fourth Avenue saw Anderson jump out a window and run, so they started chasing him.

As Officers Ryan Anglin and Kilpatrick Thomas pursued him, Anderson pulled a pistol and shot at them, so they reported the assault on police radio, prompting other officers to rush to their aid.

As a Phenix City building inspector, Ray Rogers, came around a corner of the apartments, Anderson shot at him, too. Next a Russell County District Attorney’s investigator, Tom Franklin, saw Anderson run across a street. Anderson aimed at Franklin, but turned and ran when Franklin fired at him.

Franklin followed Anderson in his car, and Anderson again pointed his gun at the investigator. Franklin fired another shot, hitting Anderson in the leg and ending the chase.

Because Anderson was accused of shooting at an employee of the county district attorney, his prosecution was left to the Alabama Attorney General’s staff to avoid a conflict of interest.

Assistant Attorney Generals Stephanie Billingslea and John Hensley took the case. Aided by paralegal Lori Arnold, they presented evidence that matched shell casings from the scene to Anderson’s gun. Also testimony showed Anderson in an ambulance on the crime scene said “Give me a gun and I’d do it again.”

Anderson, 24, is to be sentenced May 20, according to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. He faces from 20 years to life in prison on each of two counts of attempted murder for firing at Anglin and Thomas; and up to six months in prison on each of the two counts of menacing Rogers and Franklin.

Anderson last year was the last of three suspects wanted in the June 24, 2013, armed robbery of the Papa John’s Pizza at 3949 Victory Drive in Columbus. Witnesses said three men with pistols came into the business at 7:15 p.m. that Monday and ordered six workers and a customer to get down on the floor.

They got keys to the restaurant’s safe, took cash from it and the register’s cash drawer, and ran north toward Lambert Drive, police said.

Investigators soon captured two suspects, leaving Anderson the only one still at large.

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