MOBILE, AL (WKRG) — The man who pleaded guilty to shooting an undercover Mobile Police officer in a gunfight last year has committed suicide behind bars.
The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office confirms that Ryan Burkhardt took his own life overnight by hanging himself. His body was discovered by a corrections officer at Mobile Metro Jail and was rushed to the hospital, but was pronounced dead. Officials will not say what he used to hang himself.
Burkhardt was two weeks away from sentencing on July 27 after pleading guilty to three charges in federal court. He was facing life in prison.
In April 2016, Burkhardt, 32, of Mobile suffered six to nine gun shot wounds in his exchange with an undercover Mobile Police officer. He was targeted in an early morning operation for the sale of illegal firearms and crystal-meth.
The undercover officer was shot two times in the altercation that authorities say was a sting operation gone wrong.
Burkhardt chose to plead guilty in federal court on March 27. The charges were attempting to kill a person assisting a federal officer in the performance of his duties, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and manufacture methamphetamine, and discharge of a firearm and furtherance of and in relation to a drug trafficking felony.
Several days after the shooting, Burkhardt sat in a wheelchair as he was rolled out of MPD Headquarters on his way to jail, answering questions from reporters.
“I apologize to the officer and the officer’s family,” Burkhardt said. “For doing something wrong.”
“I was high on drugs. Crystal Methamphetamines.”
Burkhardt appeared incoherent, possibly sedated after the shooting he endured in Grand Bay.
Burkhardt claimed he was “just trying to find his father.”
“I’m sorry everybody,” he proclaimed in his perp walk on his way to Mobile Metro Jail.
Burkhardt was seen with a swastika tattooed to his chest — a symbol of commonly used to represent Nazi Germany and white supremacy.
This is a breaking development… more to follow…