Birmingham, Alabama Police Sergeant Wytasha Carter was shot and killed outside of a nightclub early Sunday morning. Another officer was critically injured in the shooting.
Police say two suspects are in custody, including one who was struck by gunfire and is being treated at a hospital, AL.com reports.
The shooting happened around 2 am after an undercover police officer requested backup when he spotted two people appearing to be breaking into a car.
As the officers approached the men, one of the suspects pulled out a gun and opened fire.
Both suspects are said to be around 18 years old.
Carter, 44, had been with the department since 2011. The other officer injured has not been identified.
“I offer my deepest sympathies & prayers as we mourn the death of Sgt. Carter, which came far too soon,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement. “Terrible loss for his loved ones, fellow law enforcement officers & our entire state. I am praying for the second officer still fighting to stay alive.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sergeant Wytasha Carter Was Killed by the ‘Type of Person He Was Trying to Help’
The shooting took place Sunday morning around 2 am outside of a nightclub. An undercover officer who was investigating a series of car break-ins spotted two men who appeared to be breaking into a car and called for backup.
Carter arrived and along with the officer approached the men. As they approached, one of the men pulled out a gun and opened fire. The officer was critically injured and Carter was fatally shot in the head.
Police have not identified the suspects but said they were both around 18. Both suspects are in custody and one is being treated at a hospital after he was shot during the exchange.
Pell City Police Chief Paul Irwin, who was Carter’s captain in Birmingham’s West Precinct, called the shooting a tragedy because the slain officer just wanted to help the community around him.
“The type of person who killed him, that’s exactly the type of person he was trying to help,” Irwin told AL.com.
Carter’s colleagues saluted the mortuary transport van that carried his body to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. More than a half-dozen police cruisers escorted the van.
2. Carter ‘Wanted to Make a Difference’
“He wanted to make a difference,’’ Irwin told AL.com. “He was all about getting the job done.”
Colleagues remembered Carter as someone who wanted to make the world a better and safer place, the outlet reported.
“He was the most amazing, most caring husband, father and officer I have met in my entire life,’’ recalled Birmingham police Officer Jordan Campbell. “Every time I found myself getting into a dangerous situation, I’d look up and he was always there.”
“He prayed with me, he counseled me, most of all he was there for me and anyone else the needed him, without question,’’ she added.
“He loved to work with school kids, mentoring them on the dangers of drugs and gangs,’’ said Patrick Mardis, who worked with Carter when he worked in Fairfield.
“He was always the first one in and the last one out,’’ Mardis said. “He made sure his comrades were safe. He was truly a public servant, and his death will leave a profound void in Birmingham area law enforcement.”
“He was always willing to go the extra mile,’’ said Leon Davis, who also worked with Carter in Fairfield. “He was the ultimate profession and public servant.”
“Even more importantly,’’ Davis said, “he was a great man and humanitarian.”
3. Carter Helped Rescue 2 Young Children From House Collapse
In 2016, Carter was among numerous officers who responded to a home where a roof and chimney had collapsed, trapping an 8- and 5-year-old inside.
“I went in and was in there moving the debris,’’ Irwin told AL.com. “He came in behind me and shoved me out of the way. He really cared about people, about the community.
Former Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper told AL.com that it was his “honor” to promote Carter to sergeant as one of his last acts in office.
“He was a great hire for us and was very deserving of Sergeant stripes,” Roper said. “I will always remember him and his can-do attitude. Birmingham has truly lost a guardian of public safety and Wyt’s sacrifice should never be forgotten. We must remember his family with our prayers and support during this great loss. ”
4. Carter Was Promoted to Sergeant Last Year
Carter graduated from Phillips High School in 1993 and went on to serve in the US Air Force, AL.com reported.
After his military service, Carter was hired as a correctional officer with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in 2002.
Later that year, he joined the Leeds Police Department. In 2007, he moved to the Fairfield Police Department, where he served as a detective, a sergeant, and a member of the Special Response Team.
Carter joined the Birmingham Police Department in 2011, where he worked at the city’s West Precinct as well as a school resource officer.
Carter was promoted to sergeant in February 2018.
“He was one of those people who never met a stranger,’’ Birmingham police Sgt. Tim Gardner told AL.com. “He graduated from Phillips High School but as a school resource officer he worked at Jackson-Olin and Woodlawn and he was 100 percent about that school when he was there.”
“He took a vested interest in every single kid he dealt with,’ Gardiner said. “We talked, probably last week, about getting back over there (to the school resource division. That’s what he really wanted to do.
“He always helped people. He’d been in law enforcement a long time and had a lot of knowledge for the new people coming in,’’ he added.
5. Colleagues Remember Carter For His Dedication and Sacrifice
Former officer Erick Burpo told AL.com that Carter was like a brother.
“I remember the first time I met him in the hallway of Fairfield police department and he made it sound and feel like we already knew each other. I looked at Nick Dyer and said, ‘Who is this dude and where did he come from?’ Nick just laughed and said, ‘He must be your brother.’’’
“From then on, the friendship and the brotherhood began,’’ Burpo said.
When Burpo was injured in 2006, he said all the officers offered support but “Carter did more.”
“He called and texted to make sure I was straight almost every day. This was how he was,” he said.
“When he came to the Birmingham Police Department he continued to shine. Any department he went to they were sure to find out that they had a great man/officer in their midst,’’ Burpo said. “He helped to mold officers to not only be great at what they do but be great in life. His legacy will not be forgotten and will live on through many of us that have worked alongside of him.”