Fugitive arrested in Decatur standoff accused of trying to kill state trooper

Fugitive arrested in Decatur standoff accused of trying to kill state trooper

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Authorities have arrested a suspect after a brief standoff in Decatur Friday afternoon.

Moulton Police Chief Lyndon McWhorter confirmed the suspect is 30-year-old John Gillespie. McWhorter said Gillespie has warrants out of Moulton for attempted murder and drug trafficking. He had previously escaped arrest.

The standoff happened on 2nd Avenue SW near Daniel Street SW in central Decatur. McWhorter said U.S. marshals helped track Gillespie to Decatur.

Decatur police, Moulton police, U.S. marshals, and the Lawrence County drug unit all responded to Friday’s standoff, the chief said.

McWhorter said the warrants stem from an incident on Nov. 3 in the Caddo Community of Lawrence County. Authorities tried to pull Gillespie over as he fled a Burger King on Alabama 157. He said they had been looking for the vehicle since Oct. 31 when he fled a checkpoint.

Decatur Police secure 2nd Avenue SW near Daniel Street SW in Decatur
Decatur Police secure 2nd Avenue SW near Daniel Street SW in Decatur (Source: WAFF 48 News)

On Nov. 3, police and state troopers pursued him as he fled the restaurant. McWhorter said he rammed the trooper’s patrol vehicle. He said Gillespie then tried to run the trooper over, which is the basis for the attempted murder charge.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency confirms the trooper believed “his life was in danger” and fired a shot. Troopers don’t believe the suspect was hit. The SBI is investigating that incident.

McWhorter said Gillespie drove off but abandoned the vehicle on County Road 345 and ran away on foot. He avoided capture until Friday when the standoff ended with his surrender.

In the abandoned vehicle, McWhorter said they found a pound of marijuana, 1.5 pounds of crystal meth, and more than $17,000 in cash.

Gillespie is being held in the Morgan County Jail on charges from Decatur police. Officers could not yet confirm what those charges include.

McWhorter said once he is released, he will be transferred to the Lawrence County Jail on the attempted murder and drug trafficking warrants. Those warrants have no bond.

Gillespie was on the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office’s wanted list before Friday.

He is also a registered sex offender who was convicted of second-degree rape in October 2009, according to state records. He was released in December 2014.

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