Community rallying in memory of Officer Cousette

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Community rallying in memory of Officer Cousette

CW / Hannah Saad

CW / Hannah Saad

CW / Hannah Saad

CW / Hannah Saad

Andrew Littlejohn | @AndrewLittlej19, Contributing Writer

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The University of Alabama and the City of Tuscaloosa are set to honor and remember the life of Tuscaloosa Police Department Investigator Dornell Cousette, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sept. 16. 

Earlier that day, Investigator Cousette received a tip that a suspect was wanted at 1700 33rd Ave. at 6:23 p.m. When Cousette arrived, he saw Luther Bernard Watkins Jr. sitting on the front porch. Watkins, upon noticing Cousette, fled inside the house.

Cousette chased after him inside and attempted to arrest 20-year-old Watkins, who was wanted for failure to appear in court for previous felony cases. Gunshots were traded between Watkins and Cousette, both of whom were shot. 

Cousette was taken to Druid City Hospital but succumbed to his injuries. Watkins fled the scene but later showed up in a hospital in Northport, where he was then transported to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital’s trauma center.

Police served Watkins a capital murder warrant at UAB’s hospital on Tuesday. The charge currently carries no bond. 

Cousette, aged 40, served for 13 years as a Tuscaloosa Police Department (TPD) officer. He leaves behind two daughters and a fiancee.

Currently, there are multiple events organized in memory of Cousette: 

The University of Alabama planned for Bryant-Denny to be lit up blue Wednesday, Sept. 18 from 8-9 p.m.

The City of Tuscaloosa is hosting a candlelight vigil on Sept. 19 at Government Plaza. The event will start with an informal gathering at 7 p.m., followed by speakers at 7:30 p.m., and a vigil at 8 p.m. 

The University also plans to post a police vehicle at the Walk of Champions by Bryant-Denny Stadium. The vehicle will be there until Friday, Sept. 20 at noon. Community members are welcome to pay their respects by leaving cards, letters or flowers.