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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Cases: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10097104
Hinds9984199
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Jackson6360119
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Webster44314
Kemper43618
Wilkinson39822
Jefferson35211
Franklin3395
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
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