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Alabama officer killed, suspect found dead after standoff

Justin Billa | Photo: MGN Online

An hour long standoff in Alabama ended with both the suspect and a police officer dead.

Posted: Feb 21, 2018 10:59 AM
Updated: Feb 21, 2018 11:03 AM

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — An hourslong standoff in Alabama ended with both the suspect and a police officer dead.

Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste told news outlets early Wednesday that Officer Justin Billa was shot Tuesday night and succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.

Earlier Tuesday evening, officers responding to a report of a person hit had found Fonda Poellnitz dead. Police identified her ex-husband, Robert Hollie, as a person of interest and set up a perimeter around his Toulminville home. Battiste said officers called upon him to come out, but Hollie instead opened fire, striking Billa.

At least one officer fired shots at the scene.

Around five hours after Poellnitz's body was found, the standoff ended, with Hollie dead. Battiste said police did not yet know if Hollie died from self-inflicted injuries or from the shots previously fired by police.

Police have not disclosed Poellnitz's probable cause of death. Her daughter, Octavia Poellnitz, had identified Hollie as the likely suspect to WKRG-TV before Battiste spoke to news outlets.

"He didn't love my momma," she said.

Battiste said police plan to provide an update around midday Wednesday. He didn't offer much information on Billa, saying he still needed to visit the University of South Alabama Medical and speak with Billa's wife.

Billa joined the force in January 2016, according to the Mobile Police Department's website. He was named the department's officer of the month that June, winning a commendation for investigating complaints of robberies committed by a man whom he later arrested. The announcement of his award cited Billa's attention to detail and commitment, per his commanding officer.

In July 2017, Billa was interviewed by WALA-TV for a segment on the police force's relationship with community members. He spoke about his intentions as a police officer and goals for the force as a whole.

"We need to go back to helping people instead of just taking them to jail and creating bigger problems," he said. "That's my ideal of good policing and I feel like that's what the chief is working toward."

As WALA-TV reporter Rudy Harper introduced the officer, he noted that Billa was "just six months into the job, a job he wants to do for the rest of his life."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 1848
CountyConfirmedDeaths
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Washington158237
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Webster21612
Jefferson1946
Wilkinson19413
Sharkey1903
Stone1633
Benton1330
Choctaw1304
Franklin1162
Issaquena251
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12486232
Mobile9420204
Montgomery6449148
Madison516130
Tuscaloosa405769
Baldwin338023
Unassigned319060
Shelby316432
Marshall306034
Lee258844
Morgan229517
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Calhoun167213
Elmore167238
Walker149864
Houston134812
Dallas130523
St. Clair128915
Russell12772
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Franklin123820
Cullman118912
Colbert114113
Lauderdale112315
Autauga105021
Escambia104416
Talladega96713
Jackson9244
Tallapoosa84179
Chambers83538
Dale80223
Blount7593
Butler75635
Chilton7456
Coffee7365
Covington71620
Pike6877
Lowndes56724
Barbour5655
Marion56224
Marengo53614
Clarke4949
Hale46426
Bullock45011
Winston44011
Perry4364
Wilcox41410
Bibb4134
Monroe4084
Randolph39410
Conecuh37810
Pickens3779
Sumter36018
Lawrence3321
Macon32013
Washington32012
Crenshaw3123
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Clay2375
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