Police Shooting 01

Opelika Police investigate an officer involved shooting on northbound Interstate 85 at mile marker 63 in Opelika, Ala., on Thursday, March 6, 2014. The wounded person was taken to East Alabama Medical Center. The investigation has been taken over by Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

The Opelika Police Department has identified the officer involved in a Thursday night shooting incident as Officer Phillip Hancock.

Hancock, a seven-year veteran with OPD, was placed on administrative leave with pay immediately following the incident, Capt. Bruce DeLong said Friday. He declined to say what led to the shooting.

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident.

“I understand the officer involved will be suspended until the investigation is complete,” said Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller, who was briefed by Opelika Police Chief John McEachern III Thursday night and again Friday morning. “Of course, certainly we’ll continue to compensate the officer.”

At about 7:12 p.m. Thursday, OPD responded to a call regarding an officer-involved shooting along the northbound lane of I-85 between the Torbert Road and West Point Parkway exits.

One person was injured and taken to East Alabama Medical Center following the incident. Hancock was not injured.

The name of the individual involved has not been released. As of Friday, no charges had been filed.

“I’m sure decisions will be made as to any charges,” DeLong said.

DeLong was unable to confirm reports on social media the incident was sparked by a slow-moving vehicle on I-85, and no information regarding the cause of the incident has been released.

In-car cameras may be able to help explain what led to the shooting.

“We do have camera systems in all of our marked units. My guess -- I did not specifically ask the chief about this -- but normally, those cameras roll all the time,” Fuller said. “And then, there’s audio that goes with the video. So, I’m speculating that the video system was working and that any conversation between the officer and the driver was hopefully captured on audio, as well as video.”

Robyn Litchfield, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Public Safety, said the Alabama Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident. Once complete, the report will be turned over to the District Attorney's Office.

OPD is unsure how long the investigation will take.

“Fortunately, we’re not involved in too many of these,” DeLong said.

Patrick Johnston contributed to this report

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