BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - The Alabama Marine Police is speaking out about testimony given in Thursday's Gravine Island preliminary hearing.
The three men connected to the shooting told investigators that they responded to the burglary because a marine police officer suggested they do so, but a department spokesman said they'd never recommend that.
Inside a Baldwin County courtroom, an investigator recounted his interview with the men connected to the accidental shooting of Summer Moody.
The men told deputies that Alabama Marine Police told them to handle crimes on Gravine Island themselves.
The men allegedly told authorities that the marine police have slow response times at night, so they would have to stop criminals themselves.
Marine police spokesman Lt. Mike Coleman said, "I do not know that a marine police officer would tell anyone that."
Coleman said the Alabama Marine Police is a small organization. He said there are three officers who patrol the Mobile Delta, but officers are on call 24 hours a day.
Some marine police officers even give out their cell phone numbers in case people need help overnight.
He said if there's ever a crime on Gravine Island, it would take about an hour for them to respond.
FOX10 asked Coleman if this should be considered a sufficient response time for a crime in progress.
Coleman said, "It's as efficient as we have. You have an officer who is off duty at the time, and he has to tow his boat to the nearest boat ramp and then respond to the area by boat."
The island is northeast of downtown Mobile, along the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.
Locals said there aren't many homes there, and it takes a ten minute boat ride to get there.
A local resident said that over the past few years, there's been a problem with burglars hitting fish camps on Gravine Island."
Frequent visitors to the island feel that in extreme circumstances, they'd take action.
Visitor John Cobb said, "(You should) not to take matters in your hand if you got time to call the authorities; that's what you should do. If you don't have time, if it's life threatening, then you have to take care of it."
Another man said, "If somebody were breaking into mine, I'd try to stop 'em, and call the police too, you know."
But the Marine police spokesman said, "We certainly don't recommend people take matters into their own hands."
We reached out to one of the men's attorneys for comment, but we have not received a response.
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