Dashcam footage shows deadly gunfire exchange with suspect at close range
Dashcam footage shows deadly gunfire exchange with suspect at close range

Screenshot from video below


Decatur police and the Macon County Sheriff’s Department released the names of the officers involved in the Oct. 12 exchange of gunfire that left 32-year-old Decatur man Jamontey O. Neal dead and two officers wounded.

The four officers involved in the 12:25 a.m. gunfight were identified as Sgt. Timothy Wittmer, Officer Austin Bowman and Officer Ryan Ricker with the city, and Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Wolfe, who is also the son of Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe and WAND-TV reporter Doug Wolfe.

According to Decatur Police Chief Shane Brandel, all four officers fired their weapons.

Wittmer, a 15-year veteran of the city department, was shot multiple times and Bowman, who has served for two years, suffered one wound. Both officers have since been released from hospital and are recovering from their injuries at home. Neither Ricker, a serving officer for two years, nor Wolfe, a sheriff’s deputy for the last 10 years, were wounded.

“The department appreciates the public’s patience with this identification, as the officers and their families needed time to start processing this incident as well as receive medical care related to their injuries,” Brandel stated in a press release.

In a news conference after the fatal shooting, Brandel said Neal fired first after his vehicle had been pulled over in the 1300 block of East Walnut Street. He had been stopped by members of the Decatur Police Community Action Team, which targets gun violence.

Brandel did not comment on the reasons for pulling over Neal, but said only it was based on “information known to the officers prior to the stop.” Neal is a felon who has previously served 15 years in prison for illegal possession of a weapon and obstructing justice. As is standard practice, the fatal shooting is now being investigated by the State Police.

Along with Monday’s release of the names of all the officers involved, Brandel also took the unusual step of releasing a picture of part of Wittmer’s patrol uniform, which showed the embroidered department shoulder badge stained crimson with his blood.

“Although it may be difficult to look at, it should serve as a reminder to this community, our state and our country, of the level of dedication police officers have, and their willingness to sacrifice their very lives to keep our communities safe,” said Brandel.

Mayor Moore Wolfe told the Herald & Review she had gotten her own sharp reminder with early morning phone calls soon after the shooting. The first was from her sheriff’s deputy son, letting her know he was OK. The second call came from City Manager Scot Wrighton, who relayed more information about the shooting and the wounded officers.

“Immediately, you’re wide awake,” Moore Wolfe said. “I was thankful that he (her son) was OK. But, my next reaction was immediately to the welfare of our officers who had been shot, so I went to the hospital.”

Moore Wolfe, speaking with Herald & Review on Monday, said last week was only one of a handful of times she has received middle-of-the-night calls related to her job since her appointment as mayor in 2015.

And she has had to deal with other officer-involved shootings before but none that hit as close to home as this one. She said she feels that more now as the full implication of what happened sinks in but, in the heat of the moment, she had to get on with her job as mayor.

“That night, when it was happening, I knew my son was OK and I had a job to do,” Moore Wolfe said. “And that job was, number one, to check on the other officers, make sure that they were getting everything they needed or if there was anything to be done. And then, I went to the police station, because that’s what we do — see what do we need to do next.”

The mayor said she feels both a mother’s pride and the pride of a city leader in the job done by her son and all the men and women in uniform sworn to protect her citizens from crime.

“I’m proud of all of our officers, because every night or every day when they put on a uniform, they are going out to make this community safer. And every time they do that, they know they could be putting their lives in jeopardy.”

Staff writers Brenden Moore and Tony Reid contributed to this story.


Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR


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