Alabama’s governor says the state “has lost one of her heroes.”
Dornell Cousette, a U.S Army veteran who served 13 years at the Tuscaloosa Police Department, was shot and killed Monday night while in pursuit of a felon, officials say. The suspect is said to have run inside a home before opening fire, striking Cousette, 40.
“We cannot take for granted the tremendous sacrifices our men and women in law enforcement make each and every day in order to keep us safe,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement. “Because of Officer Cousette’s brave call to action, the felon he pursued now remains in custody.”
She added: “Truly, Alabama has lost one of her heroes, Dornell Cousette.”
Cousette leaves behind a fiancé and two children.
"It’s terribly difficult,'' Tuscaloosa Interim Police Chief Mitt Tubbs told reporters Monday. “Every time you hear the phone ring, you just hope it’s not this call. And. unfortunately, today it was this call.”
Tubbs described Cousette as a “great officer” who was well-liked by his colleagues.
“You can tell by the number of people who arrived at the hospital when we got the news,” he said.
Ivey has issued a directive to fly flags at half-staff on the day of Cousette’s internment.
“In our community, our heroes wear the police uniform of the Tuscaloosa Police Department,” the city’s mayor, Walt Maddox, told reporters Monday.
Tubbs says the department will grieve their loss – but also push forward.
“It’s our duty to protect the citizens of Tuscaloosa,” he said. “As tough as it is, that’s what we do. That’s what we’ll continue to do.”