Opelika man in custody at hospital following manhunt, shooting in Auburn


By Hannah Lester and Michelle Key

UPDATE (4:31 p.m.)

A press release from Lee County District Attorney Pro Tem Jessica Ventiere Monday afternoon said that the Alabama State Bureau of Investigations determined there should be two investigations based on the manhunt that ensued Sunday night.

“[The Alabama State Bureau of Investigations] will lead the investigation into the shooting of Lewis by law enforcement,” said the release. “On the recommendation of SBI, Opelika Police Department Investigators will investigate Lewis’ actions towards the Auburn Officers in Town Creek Park.

The District Attorney’s Office will assist and advise on any criminal issues that may arise out of either of these investigations. Both agencies will present their cases to the District Attorney’s Office for review and presentation to a Lee County Grand Jury.”

Opelika resident, Justin Lewis, is in custody this morning following a multiple agency manhunt on Sunday night.

About 8:15 p.m. Sunday evening, Auburn police were alerted to a suspicious person at Town Creek Park in Auburn, according to an Auburn press release Monday morning. 

After approaching and speaking to the subject, police determined the individual was Justin Tearrius Lewis, 20 years old.

“While speaking with officers, Lewis started to flee on foot,” police said. “While fleeing, Lewis produced a handgun and shot at officers.”

A safety alert was then issued notifying the public of an armed suspect and asking residents around the Town Creek Park area to remain indoors. 

Shortly thereafter, a second alert was published, giving a description of the armed man as being in his late teens to early 20s, 5-foot, 10-inches tall, skinny and wearing dark green jogger pants, a black jacket and a knitted cap.

The Auburn Police Division, with assistance from the Opelika Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Department, and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency located Lewis at the Town Creek Park entrance at about 11:30 p.m.

“Lewis shot at officers a second time, which prompted them to return fire striking him,” the release said. 

First aid was administered and Lewis was taken to Piedmont Hospital in Columbus, Georgia. 

The release said that Lewis is in stable condition.

“Further investigation of this incident is being conducted by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the Opelika Police Department,” police said. “Criminal charges are pending.

Lewis’s girlfriend, Ayanna Robinson, told the Observer that Lewis had run away, trying to clear his head. Lewis was reported missing and endangered to the Opelika Police Department on Saturday, June 5. “[He is] the most sweet person ever.” Robinson said.

Investigation is still underway into the incident and will be conducted by ALEA and the OPD. Criminal charges are pending, the release said.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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