Officer involved in shooting

Published 12:10 pm Thursday, January 14, 2021

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Suspect arrested on multiple charges

By Kendra Majors and Andrew Garner

A 25-year-old man is facing multiple charges in multiple counties after he allegedly held two victims at gunpoint, car jacked two vehicles at separate locations in Greenville, stole cars from two other Alabama cities and ended in an officer-involved shooting at a travel plaza on the Poarch Creek Indian Reservation in Atmore.

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The crime spree began in Wetumpka when the suspect, later identified as Rodrigues Xalante, allegedly stole a Nissan Armada from the Pace Car Gas Station on Hwy. 231 in Wetumpka.

Wetumpka Assistant Police Chief Ed Reeves said that the SUV was parked at the Pace Car Station with the keys and a rifle inside the vehicle.

Xalante, then, allegedly drove the Armada to Evergreen – some 95 miles away, where he abandoned it and stole another vehicle at gunpoint.

Xalante made his way to Greenville, where Greenville Police are now investigating two additional carjackings.

Greenville Police Chief Justin Lovvorn said the Greenville Police Department responded to a report of a vehicle being stolen at gunpoint late Thursday night.

Officers spoke to the victim who informed them that an unknown Hispanic male approached her with a rifle in a parking lot on Interstate Drive. The carjacker, later identified as Xalante, demanded the keys to the victim’s vehicle and drove off in her vehicle moments later.

When Xalante left the scene of the initial carjacking, and went to another gas station on Willow Drive, where he allegedly held another victim at gunpoint and car jacked another vehicle.

Although the victim’s vehicle didn’t have a GPS, the victim did inform officers that another device left in the vehicle might aide officers in tracking the suspect down.

Shortly after, investigators were able to track the vehicle and used the information to set up a general search area. Later, the Poarch Tribal Police, in Escambia County, located the stolen vehicle and the suspect, who attempted to run over one of the officers at the Creek Travel Plaza on Exit 54. Officers fired at the suspect, striking him at least once. The suspect was then taken to the hospital where he is said to be in serious but stable condition.

“After being approached by uniformed officers and marked patrol vehicles, an altercation ensued forcing officers to discharge their firearms,” Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson said. “The suspect was injured and transported by EMS to the hospital for treatment. All officers involved managed to avoid injury and we are thankful for their professional and quick response to such a dangerous situation.”

Jackson said then the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency was requested to conduct the investigation, and that it’s standard practice with officer-involved shootings that take place in Escambia County. The suspect has multiple charges over multiple jurisdictions including robbery I, theft of property I, reckless endangerment, menacing and more.

Lovvorn commended everyone involved in the incident, ensuring no innocent civilians were injured.

“I would like to commend the cooperation and fast action of all the law enforcement jurisdictions involved that brought this highly dangerous situation to an end as quickly and safely as possible before any innocent civilians could be harmed,” he said.