One suspect dead, one in custody in Fairhope chase

Investigation open in officer-involved shooting


One suspect is dead and one is in custody after an incident last week in Fairhope that included shots fired by multiple officers from different law enforcement agencies.

The Baldwin County District Attorney’s Office, the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and the Baldwin County Major Crimes Unit will conduct the investigation into the incident, which Baldwin County District Attorney Bob Wilters said might take months to complete.

On Thursday, Oct. 26 around 4:30 p.m., Fairhope Police were contacted about two males looking into vehicles at the Wal-Mart on Highway 181 and County Road 48 in Fairhope.

Officers were able to make contact with the suspects, Sanders Surber and Jesse Harris, at the scene. Harris was detained by officers at the Wal-Mart, but Surber fled the scene in a stolen silver Chrysler PT Cruiser.

Officers pursued Surber along County Road 48 until his vehicle wrecked near Lowry Drive and he made his away on foot into a wooded area near a subdivision. Surber broke into a nearby home, where he threatened a woman who was babysitting three young children. He threatened her and took the keys to her vehicle, which he used to flee that scene into another neighborhood.

Officers once again encountered Surber and a trooper with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency attempted to stop Surber by firing shots from his weapon in Surber’s direction. The officer sustained injuries to his leg during that incident, but has been released from medical care.

Surber was then pursued to the roundabout at County Road 48 and County Road 13, where he was unable to complete the circle and wrecked the stolen vehicle.

It was there that Fairhope Police made contact with Surber. As Surber exited the vehicle with a shotgun, he was shot multiple times by two Fairhope officers.

Surber was later pronounced dead at the scene.

A second firearm was later located in the PT Cruiser Surber had abandoned earlier.

Both Surber and Harris were from the Martinsville, Virginia area. Surber had active warrants in Franklin County, Virginia, for armed robbery and the theft of the PT Cruiser used in the chase.

Harris is currently in jail, where Wilters said he has been charged with possession of a controlled substance. Wilters added additional charges were likely pending.

The Major Crimes Unit will investigate the actions of the Fairhope officers’ and the ALEA officer’s actions in the incident, using body camera video, dash camera footage and citizens’ videos of the events.

Body camera and dash camera footage has yet to be released publicly, as Sheriff Hoss Mack said the footage is still part of an active investigation.