Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith said he asked the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to conduct the investigation into Sunday’s fatal shooting of a car chase suspect by a Columbus police officer because his agency was involved in the pursuit once it crossed the state line.
Christian Andrew Redwine, 17, was shot to death on Riverchase Drive in Phenix City around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Columbus police. Two other suspects, Hunter Tillis, 19, and Hannah Wuenschel, were also shot by the officer and are in stable condition at Midtown Medical Center in Columbus.
According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, Columbus police were following the vehicle on Gentian and Reese roads near Columbus State University’s main campus when the vehicle was identified as stolen.
Columbus police initiated a traffic stop near that point around 4:30 a.m., when the four-door, silver Pontiac accelerated. The chase went into downtown Columbus where the driver of the Pontiac, identified as Redwine, crossed the 13th Street bridge into Alabama.
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Phenix City police then joined the chase, Chief Smith said. The car, with officers from Columbus and Phenix City giving chase, turned right onto Opelika Road, Smith said. The car got on U.S. 80, then U.S. 280 and headed back toward Columbus.
“At that point, our guys broke off the chase because we thought it was going back to Columbus,” Smith said.
The driver exited at Riverchase Drive, the last Alabama exit before the state line. The Pontiac went off the road at Riverchase Drive. A Columbus police officer, who had seen the car exit on Riverchase, got out of his vehicle and encountered three suspects.
The officer fired an unknown number of shots from his weapon, the report said. Columbus police have yet to identify the officer.
Smith said that Columbus police have the authority to chase a suspect into Phenix City and his officers can chase into Columbus.
“If you are in hot pursuit, you can continue to pursue,” Smith said.