2019 turning into deadly year for Alabama officers

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is seeing an alarming rise in gun violence against law enforcement officers, authorities said.

Three Alabama police officers were killed in the first half of 2019, Al.com reported.

“Alabama has already lost three police officers to hostile fire during 2019 — the greatest amount due to gunfire in a single year in our state since 2009,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said.

Two Alabama law officers died in the line of duty in all of 2018, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks such deaths nationwide.

One officer was killed in the line of duty in each of 2016 and 2017.

The officers killed so far this year are: Birmingham police Sgt. Wytasha Carter; Mobile police Officer Sean Tuder; and Auburn police Officer William Buechner.

Carter and Tuder were killed in January. Buechner was killed in May.

Five other officers have been wounded by gunfire in 2019.

“The Birmingham Police Department has had one sergeant killed in the line of duty and two officers critically wounded by gunfire from an armed assailant, and we are only halfway through the year,” Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said.

Guns have become so prevalent throughout society “that some people have taken for granted the devastation one person can cause due to improper use,” Smith added.

Alabama’s top three federal prosecutors spoke out about the issue earlier this month. They highlighted the “Back the Blue Initiative” — an effort by U.S. attorneys nationwide to pay tribute to officers’ service and sacrifice.

“An attack on law enforcement is an attack on the very fabric of our community and on the rule of law,” said Jay Town, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

“We need more heroes, not more crime scenes,” Town said. “For those who disagree, we will continue to make room for them in our federal prisons where a debt to society comes at full freight. No discounts. No parole.”

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