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Hall spent time in Coosa County Jail
File photo of Austin Hall from 2018
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
The man wanted in connection with shooting two Bibb County deputies was captured yesterday morning, following the shootings Wednesday afternoon.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Fusion Center issued a Blue Alert Wednesday after the two deputies were shot in Brierfield during the pursuit of a stolen vehicle. The deputies were identified as Investigator Chris Poole and Brad Johnson.
Both were transported to UAB Hospital in Birmingham, and Poole has since been discharged from the hospital. Johnson succumbed to his injuries and passed away yesterday afternoon.
The alleged shooter was identified as 26-year-old Austin Patrick Hall, who was arrested at approximately 7:30 a.m. yesterday. He was located and taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force near the 1200 block of Bulldog Bend Road in Brierfield in Bibb County.
Hall was transported and placed into a local area jail, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.
Later it was reported that he was being held in the Shelby County Jail, and as of press time he was charged with attempted murder and assaulting a police officer. However, those charges will likely be upgraded.
Following the shooting, it was noted that Hall had a rather extensive criminal record. He also has ties to Coosa County, having spent time in the Coosa County Jail in 2018.
At that time Hall was a resident of Montevallo and was arrested on multiple burglary and theft charges relating to the January 2018 burglaries of lake homes in the Hidden Valley area of Coosa County.
During those thefts a firearm, numerous televisions, video games, and a variety of electronic devices and other items were taken. A total of four lake homes were targeted in those cases.
Ultimately the investigation resulted in the arrest of then 22-year-old Hall on May 1, 2018. He was charged with four counts of third-degree burglary, four counts of second-degree theft of property and one count of third-degree criminal mischief in Coosa County.
Hall spent approximately 90 days in the Coosa County Jail in Rockford, from May 1 through July 30, 2018. At that time he was transferred to the Department of Corrections.
His time in Coosa County was a small portion of his criminal history. State Auditor Jim Zeigler shared in a statement released early yesterday morning that Hall has been charged with at least 46 crimes over the last nine years and that he had been approved for a work release in 2019 while serving a 10-year sentence for theft charges from 2018.
“This inmate was not appropriate for work release then, and he was not supposed to be out of prison now,” Zeigler said.
He added that in 2019 Hall led police on a two-state chase. Additionally, in May he was indicted in Calhoun County on 10 charges of second-degree receiving stolen property, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, certain persons prohibited from carrying a firearm, drug possession, resisting arrest, attempting to elude, and third-degree burglary.
“Our criminal justice system needs to do a much better job of deciding which inmates to release under work release, parole and any types of early release,” Zeigler said. “We need more accountability on the part of officials who make these decisions.”
He also emphasized the need for taking a “harder look” at all forms of criminal release.
Prior to Hall’s capture, Zeigler further stated, “Our prayers are with the two wounded deputies, their families and fellow officers. We pray for the swift capture of the accused and that no further violence will be done to law enforcement and the public. After that, we need to use this shooting to prompt a hard look at all forms of criminal release. It appears that Hall was not supposed to be out of prison at this time. We need to tighten up accountability for the safety of the public and law enforcement.”