Man sentenced for shooting at Phenix City PD

spedersen@ledger-enquirer.comMay 20, 2014 


The man who shot at two Phenix City police officers last summer has been sentenced to 35 years for each of the two counts of attempted murder and six months for each of the two counts of menacing, with the sentences to run concurrently, according to a release from the Alabama Attorney General.

Robert Lorenzo Anderson, 24, was found guilty in April after a two-day trial.

"It is right and important that this man will serve many years in prison," Attorney General Luther Strange said in a release. "He conducted a terrible attack on the lives of law enforcement officers who responded to a call for help and put their lives, literally, on the line to protect residents of Riverview Apartments and the people of Phenix City. Officers Anglin and Thomas, Mr. Rogers and Investigator Franklin, are truly heroes and we are grateful that they were not killed.

"This sentence should serve as a warning that Alabama will not tolerate threats and assaults on our law enforcement officers, and those who do so will be held to account and face stern punishment."

On July 24, 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 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.

Senior reporter Tim Chitwood contributed to this report.

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