Alabama man killed in police ‘ambush’ as truck was repossessed

Steve Perkins, 39, was shot at his home in Decatur after a worker trying to repossess his truck returned with police

Mike Bedigan
Los Angeles
Tuesday 10 October 2023 01:14 BST
Alabama Man Killed In Police ‘Ambush’ As Truck Was Repossessed

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An Alabama man was “ambushed” by police before being shot and killed, following a confrontation with a tow-truck driver, representatives for his family have said.

Steve Perkins, 39, was shot at his home in Decatur on September 29 after a worker trying to repossess his truck returned with police. The force said Mr Perkins turned a weapon on officers, though his family have questioned the account.

In surveillance camera footage belonging to Mr Perkin’s neighbour, an officer is heard shouting “police, get on the ground” – with multiple shots heard almost immediately after in rapid succession.

Mr Perkins’s family said in a previous statement that the truck was not in repossession and that Perkins was shot seven times.

Speaking to NBC News on Monday Brenton Lipscomb, spokesman for the family, said: "From the immediate footage that we’re seeing, it looked like an ambush of him not even knowing who was in his yard.

"They were in uniform, but it’s a very dark neighbourhood. No police cars were in front of the house, they were parked down the street, hiding in neighbourhoods’ yards, hiding around the house.”

Family attorney Lee Merritt, added: “It doesn’t matter whether he had a weapon or not. He was never given an opportunity to comply or not. He had a weapon [but] he was well within his rights to carry a firearm.”

Hundreds of people gathered outside of Decatur City Hall on Thursday night in a vigil for Mr Perkins, and protests have occurred in the north Alabama city daily since his death.

His older brother Nicholas Perkins, said the incident was a case of “cold-blooded murder”.

Speaking at the vigil, he told crowds: ”Not only was I his brother, but I was his friend. You have no idea how it feels to be born a protector, and the job is taken away from you, unjustly, and unwarranted.”

He later told NBC News: “What hurts the most is that we don’t have answers. This family needs answers. This community needs answers.”

(Courtesy of Dr Brenton Lipscomb)

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which is investigating the shooting, said on Friday that it did not have any additional information to release to the public. The agency said it opened a tip line for information.

“We continue to ask for everyone’s patience as ALEA’s SBI conducts what must be a very thorough and methodical investigation,” the agency said in a statement.

“The thing that has been consistent is looking for answers. We understand that. That is something everyone wants and they want answers now. Unfortunately, we don’t have control of that,” Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling told news outlets.

A GoFundMe page, set up by Mr Lipscomb, described Mr Perkins as a “family man” and a “girl dad” – with two daughters aged 14 and 7.

“He was a devoted husband, gym enthusiast and a hard-working employee at JM Smuckers pet food manufacturer,” the page stated.

“Steve dreamed of one day opening his own gym where he could continue to pursue his love of fitness while providing a safe space for community growth and development. He kept his nose clean telling his close friends he only harbored a single fear as a Black man- being killed by the police.”

As of Monday, the page had raised almost $60,000.

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