Saturday shootout turns deadly

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 19, 2006

Two Greenville police officers were shot during a gunfight at the Comfort Inn that also left the suspected shooter dead on Saturday night.

According to Greenville police, officers Lionel Davidson and John Bass received gunshot wounds after confronting the suspect, Wayne Vasquez, 50, of St. Bernard, La., in his first floor hotel room early Saturday evening.

Officer Byron Russell also responded to the scene as back-up.

Bass and Davidson's injuries are non-life threatening, according to GPD spokesperson Lt. Anthony Barganier. Davidson was struck in the right arm and left hand and Bass was hit in the right arm.

Both were transported to L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital. Bass was then airlifted to Mobile, while Davidson was taken to Montgomery for further treatment. Ingram said there is concern that there may be some nerve damage to Bass's arm.

Vasquez was later found dead in his room when an assault team entered the hotel. Ingram said the suspect appeared to be occupying the room by himself.

&#8220From our initial investigation it appears the bad guy was killed in the initial shootout,” said Police Chief Lonzo Ingram.

Ingram said Bass and Russell returned fire on Vasquez during the gun fight.

Greenville Police, Alabama State Troopers and Butler County Sheriff's Deputies halted all traffic crossing the bridge over Interstate 65 and formed a perimeter around the hotel. Bargainier said Comfort Inn guests were notified of the situation and advised to remain in their rooms

At approximately 9 p.m., the GPD's Special Response Team entered the hotel. At 9:15 word was sent out that the suspect was dead. Ingram said Vasquez had been hit at least four times by gunshots from Russell and Bass, but managed to close his hotel room door following the fight.

He said an autopsy would be performed by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting and will present its report to Butler County District Attorney John Andrews.

&#8220We're glad we had everyone in place and the situation was handled appropriately,” said Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon. &#8220We're definitely concerned about our officers who were injured but it looks like they're going to be okay. This just goes to show that things like this can happen anywhere.”