- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama police officer was fired after superiors found he improperly followed a suspect into a neighboring jurisdiction and wounded the man after firing his gun without justification.

Mobile Police Chief James Barber said Wednesday that officer Ivan Lopez, who joined the department in September, had been terminated for policy violations committed during a DUI patrol over the weekend.

Lopez was on patrol Saturday when he followed a driver whose car had swerved across the center line, al.com reported (https://bit.ly/2hx0KgZ ). Barber said the officer pursued the vehicle into the city of Prichard, outside Mobile police’s jurisdiction, without notifying a supervisor to obtain permission.

The officer confronted the driver outside a nightclub and used force without justification when the driver tried to get back into his vehicle and flee, the police chief said.

“The officer fired a Taser, initially, and as the driver began to drive off, fired at least five rounds from his service weapon into the driver’s side of the car,” Barber said.

Police later found the fleeing man and discovered he had a minor gunshot wound to his left leg. Barber said police were not releasing the man’s name because he had not been charged with any crimes.

The fired officer has not been charged either, though the police chief said the shooting incident remains under investigation. He said the district attorney and the FBI had both been notified.

“It’s very early into that investigation,” Barber said.

Lopez was still on probationary status with Mobile police when he was fired. He had previously served as a police officer in Prichard and Chickasaw.

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