Even as he was falling to the ground, a Decatur police officer fired shots at the man who intentionally backed his truck into the officer and his motorcycle, according to affidavits filed this week.
Gary Bruce Locke, the driver of the F-150 pickup, admitted to intentionally striking Officer Robbie Willis on Monday and said he did so because he “believed Officer Willis was going to kill him,” according to the arrest affidavit by Detective Sean Mukaddam. Locke, 45, of Toney, was charged with attempted murder.
"Two shots were fired. No one was hit. An administrative review is currently being conducted," police spokeswoman Emily Long said Thursday. Willis went to the hospital after the incident with minor injuries, she said, and he is expected to be at work Sunday pursuant to his usual schedule.
The incident took place about 2 p.m. Willis turned on the emergency lights on his patrol motorcycle when the 1991 pickup driven by Locke ran a red light at Alabama 20 and Alabama 67, according to Mukaddam. The truck traveled more than 2 miles before coming to a stop near Wilson Street/Alabama 20 and Newcomb Street Northwest.
“Officer Willis began the process of getting off the motorcycle when the driver of the F-150 placed the truck in reverse and began to accelerate toward Officer Willis,” Mukaddam wrote. “The truck struck Officer Willis and the motorcycle.
“Officer Willis began to fall to the ground and brandished his firearm. Officer Willis fired his firearm at the driver to prevent the driver from further striking him with the vehicle.”
Then a chase began.
After striking Willis, Locke fled the scene in the pickup and initially could not be found. Soon, though, police located it on Sixth Avenue Southeast headed north toward the bridge, according to Mukaddam.
“Multiple officers from the Decatur Police Department and surrounding agencies pursued the truck,” according to a search warrant affidavit filed by Decatur police Detective Joshua Daniell. “The truck eventually became disabled close to the Highway 72 northbound on ramp, on (Interstate) 65.
“After a foot pursuit, officers took Locke into custody.”
Daniell said that “numerous items” were located in the truck, in plain view.
“Given Locke’s erratic behavior and driving, and willful disregard to the public’s safety, detectives believe that Locke could possibly be in the possession of illegal drugs or narcotics inside the vehicle,” Daniell said in requesting the search warrant from Morgan County Circuit Judge Charles Elliott. The pickup was not registered to Locke, but to another Toney resident, and had been towed from Limestone County to a secured tow lot in Hartselle after Locke was taken into custody.
Elliott granted the warrant and officers found 0.5 of a gram of marijuana and a digital scale with residue. They also found blood on the vehicle’s bumper, according to Daniell’s report on execution of the search warrant.
It was not Locke’s first encounter with the law. Going back to 1997, he has had numerous marijuana and alcohol-related arrests, most in Madison County.
In 2012, he was charged with attempting to elude officers when he allegedly fled on foot after a traffic stop, an encounter that also led to him being convicted of first-degree marijuana possession.
In June 2018, after being charged with domestic violence, Locke’s probation officer recommended his probation be revoked. The Madison County Circuit Court on Tuesday ordered that he be transported from the Morgan County Jail, where he is currently housed on the attempted murder charge, to appear at a Dec. 4 hearing on the probation violation charge.
The domestic violence charge arose from an incident in which a Toney woman successfully requested a protection-from-abuse order against Locke.
“He has choked me out before until I was almost dead and he has repeatedly used emotional and mental abuse,” according to her handwritten petition. “Bully me into giving him money or says he’s going to hurt me if I don’t help him.”
She filed the petition last month because of ongoing “harassing communications.”