New top story from Time: Officer Killed in Shootout With Armed Robber in Downtown Birmingham

(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) — An Alabama police officer was shot multiple times by a suspected armed robber who was then killed in a shootout that ended in what authorities described as a running gun battle through downtown Birmingham.

The shooting, which happened Wednesday night, was among three shootings involving area law enforcement officers within the span of a few hours. No one died in the other shootings.

Birmingham Police Chief Patrick D. Smith told news outlets officers were answering a call about a robbery reported at a small grocery store when they saw a man leaving the scene.

Officers attempted to stop the man, who pulled out a gun and repeatedly shot Officer Cullen Stafford, Smith said. reports Stafford was rushed to a hospital by fellow officers, and other officers responding to Stafford’s call for help were met with gunfire upon arrival.

The suspect fired a handgun from several locations that stretched across at least five city blocks, ending with a final shootout in which the man was killed, Smith said. Police said dozens of shots were fired before the man was killed near a parking garage.

Stafford was hospitalized and was out of surgery by 10 p.m., just two hours before his 36th birthday. Sgt. Johnny Williams said the surgery went well and Stafford is expected to undergo additional surgeries. Stafford and another officer were seriously injured when fleeing homicide suspects rammed a patrol car in 2017.

A second officer involved in the pursuit was injured in a fall, Smith said, but he was in good condition as of Wednesday night. Several officers kept vigil at the hospital.

Officials did not release the name of the dead man.

Within a few hours of the downtown shooting, a police officer who came upon a gunfight near a public housing development in Birmingham opened fire, authorities said. One person was hurt, authorities said, but he apparently was hurt in the gunfire before the officer fired.

After that, an officer in the Birmingham suburb of Gardendale shot and wounded a man who fled after being spotted in the parking lot outside a church, authorities said.

Authorities didn’t release the condition of either man and there was no indication the shootings had anything to do with the downtown gun battle, which Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said was a reminder of the sacrifice by law enforcement officers.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin asked for prayers for Stafford and his family.

“We often talk about how our officers put their lives on the line every day for our safety. Tonight is proof of the courage, valor and strength it takes to wear that badge. Officer Stafford, your city stands with you,” Woodfin said in a tweet.


New top story from Time: Viola Davis and Julius Tennon Join TIME’s Immersive Project The March as Executive Producers

Academy, Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor and producer, Viola Davis and actor and producer Julius Tennon, along with their award-winning production company, JuVee Productions, are joining TIME’s immersive project The March, which will bring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech to virtual reality for the first time, as executive producers, it was announced today by TIME.

Through the use of groundbreaking room-scale, interactive technology, The March will offer audiences an unprecedented opportunity to experience the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech from several points of view in virtual reality.

In partnership with Intellectual Properties Management, Inc. (Licensor of the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr.), which granted TIME development rights for the project, The March will allow contemporary audiences to experience the presence and message of Dr. King. The project will be the most life-like and realistic rendering of a human performance in VR to date, blending advanced VR, AI, film production processes, and machine-learning techniques.

“TIME has always been about the people and ideas that shape the world,” said TIME Editor in Chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal. “We are thrilled that Viola Davis and Julius Tennon are joining with TIME to connect Dr. King’s message of equality and hope to contemporary audiences through this powerful project.”

“We at JuVee are committed to using all forms of art to disrupt, to wake up, to connect and to evoke empathy. The intimacy and immediacy of VR has the power to do just that… and, in addition, to transport,” said Viola Davis and Julius Tennon. “It has been an honor to partner with TIME and IPM/King Estate to use this innovative technology to be present at one of the most important moments in history. We believe it will be a catalyst for change, both educationally and personally. This will be in the lexicon of our legacy.”

Additionally, American Family Insurance joins the The March as the Presenting Sponsor. With American Family Insurance’s sponsorship, the project, which will be presented an experiential exhibition, will travel to select museums and cultural centers across the country beginning in 2020.

“The March tells the story of the men and women who not only dreamed of change, but committed their lives to action,” said Mia Tramz, Emmy-winning producer and editorial director of Enterprise and Immersive Experiences at TIME. “There could be no better partners in bringing this project to life than Viola Davis, who is a true leader and force for change, Julius Tennon, and the ambitious team at JuVee Productions. We are also grateful to American Family Insurance, whose commitment to The March will ensure that audiences across the country will be able to experience it firsthand.

For the project, TIME partnered with the Academy Award-nominated immersive media studio RYOT,, Digital Domain, and CAA, which orchestrated the deal on behalf of clients RYOT, JuVee Productions, and Viola Davis, and will also act as a strategic advisor on securing partners and sponsors. In addition to Viola Davis, Julius Tennon, and JuVee Productions, the other executive producers for the project include Jake Sally of RYOT, Peter Matin of, and Mia Tramz and Ian Orefice of TIME.

JuVee Productions is an artist driven production company that produces film, television, theater, immersive and digital content across all spaces of narrative entertainment. JuVee Productions strives to tell inclusive, dynamic character-driven stories that celebrate the broad spectrum of humanity, while paving the way in innovation and tech for future storytellers. Recent VR and immersive experiences include the upcoming Operation Othello, which showcased at Cannes XR 2019, and the launch of the 360 film Spheres: Songs of Infinity at the MoPoP Holodome.