BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WALA) - On Monday, November 26, officials released new details about the November 23 shooting that killed one Baldwin County Sheriff's Deputy and wounded another.
Around 4 p.m on November 23, authorities said Deputy Scott Ward, Sgt. Curtis Summerlin and Deputy Rob Lindell were called out to assist a medical team at the home of Michael Jansen on Mallard Lane.
According to reports, Jansen lived at the house alone, and his mother had called 911.
Lt. Jud Beedy with the Baldwin County Major Crimes Task Force said, "Our understanding is that he had been acting irate in an altered mental state for the past couple of days, and she couldn't get in touch with him so she called 911 to have us check it out."
Officials said Jansen has a history of mental illness and had been committed twice to Searcy Hospital.
Investigators said the deputies had a long conversation with Jansen and didn't realize he had a handgun. Officials said, soon after the conversation, Jansen started firing at the deputies.
Baldwin County Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack said all three deputies were wearing bullet-proof vests.
During the exchange of gunfire, Jansen was killed, but Summerlin and Ward were badly hurt and Life-Flighted to USA Medical Center.
Ward was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Summerlin had gunshot wounds to the arm and leg and was last listed in fair but stable condition.
Baldwin County Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack knew Deputy Ward very well. He said the two worked together in the late 1990s.
Mack said, "Deputy Ward was a personal friend of mine, and he was an exemplary deputy sheriff. And we are proud of him. We will mourn him and we will miss him."
Ward was an 18-year law enforcement veteran who spent 15 years with the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office and three years Prichard Police Department.
Ward was also an Air Force veteran who had multiple commendations as security officer. He later signed up with the Coast Guard Reserve and, in 2011, he was deployed to Afghanistan.
Mack said, "It speaks to his character that not only did he go to work in law enforcement, but he increased his risk by rejoining the military and joining the Coast Guard where he was deployed to Afghanistan. So he put himself in harm's way over and over again and that just goes to his character wanting to serve and wanting to help the people."
Ward is survived by his wife and mother.
Baldwin County DA Hallie Dixon said "Deputy Ward devoted his life to the concepts of protect and serve and he lost his life doing both that night."
Dixon said due to Jansen's prior history of mental illness, he was not legally allowed to own a handgun.
Dixon said Jansen probably obtained it by purchasing it from another person. This would allow him to avoid a background check.
Dixon said the ATF is currently investigating where the gun came from.
Dixon said it is "conceivable" that the gun seller could be charged, but she said it is unlikely.
In Jansen's house, investigators found marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. Officials also discovered that Jansen had been growing marijuana behind his house.
Counselors have been made available to members of the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office.
Many in the law enforcement community are distraught over this incident, and flags are being flown at half-staff throughout the county.
"On behalf of the family of Deputy Ward, they are extremely touched and moved by the support not only of this county, not only of this state, but of this nation."
The shooting is being investigated by the Baldwin County Major Crimes Task Force, which investigates all capital murders and officer-related shootings.
And under standard procedure, an internal investigation has been launched as well.
Two accounts have been opened in honor of Summerlin and Ward at PNC Bank
Members of the public can show their support by making monetary donations at any PNC bank location.
Ask for the Deputy Scott Ward Memorial Fund or the Sgt. Curtis Summerlin Benefit Fund.
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