It all began when a woman’s lifeless corpse was found in the middle of Ridge Road West. Police responded to the scene just before 10 p.m.
When police Identified the woman as Fonda Poellnitz, 58, they were able to draw up a short list of persons of interest which included Robert Hollie, her ex-husband.
Police made their way to Hollie’s home at 2052 Avondale Court in the Toulminville neighborhood to further investigate, and that is when thing went awry.
Police were waiting for reinforcements so they could effectively establish a perimeter when several shots rang out, one striking Officer Billa.
Billa was rushed to USA medical center where he would succumb to his wounds despite the efforts by doctors to save the wounded man.
Billa joined the police force in 2016 and served only two years on at the department before the deadly incident.
After only six months on the Mobile Police Department, Billa was named officer of the month for his model conduct.
After firing the shots, Hollie locked down the house, barricading himself in to prevent law enforcement from reaching him.
The SWAT team showed up at the scene a short time later in an effort to assist officers in capturing Hollie. Police made several efforts to contact Hollie while he was barricaded in his residence to no avail.
The standoff lasted for two hours, and at some point, Hollie took drastic measures under the mounting pressure.
The SWAT team decided to breach the residence and during a sweep of the house, they discovered Hollie’s corpse. At some point during the standoff, Hollie reportedly shot himself.
Fox interviewed Billa after he received the honor early in his career and Billa expressed a need for law enforcement to “go back to helping people.” Billa also expressed concerns over the practice of “just taking people to jail,” under the current system.
Billa leaves behind a wife and a one-year-old son because of the poor decisions of a deranged savage.
The Mobile Police Chief described Billa as an “outstanding officer” who “made the ultimate sacrifice for our community.”
The mayor of Mobile reached out to Billa’s family and colleagues to send condolences for the slain officer.
The Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, showed his respect for the fallen by sending an order across Alabama directing that flags be flown at half-staff.
Fonda Poellnitz also leaves behind a daughter, Octavia Poellnitz, who was devastated by the incident and said of her mother’s killer, “He didn’t love my momma.”
While the motive for the woman’s murder is not exactly known, her daughter described there being tensions between Poellnitz and her ex-husband Hollie.
Being a law enforcement officer means having to engage with dangerous people on occasion, and it is a profession that most Americans do not want to do. Billa’s commitment to serving his community in a meaningful way is commendable.
The Officers Down Memorial Page lists 14 officers that have been killed by gunfire thus far in 2018, including Billa, and all of them were men.
Last year concluded with 46 officers being killed by gunfire, one killed in a stabbing and five killed in assaults.
This morning, in Maryland, Corporal Mujahid Ramzzidden of the Prince George’s County Police Department was shot and killed by a violent criminal with a shotgun when he was trying to protect a woman who had a protective order against the man.
Ramzzidden was off duty and lived nearby the scene of the incident. After the officer was shot, the criminal stole his firearm and fled the scene before being tracked down by two Prince George’s Police Department officers and killed.
Tensions between police and civilians grew under the Obama administration, which pushed a baseless narrative that police are racist and target certain groups more than others despite the facts, numbers, and statistics published by the DOJ and FBI.
This narrative has created even more of a hostile work environment for law enforcement officers, luckily President Trump is working on changing the narrative and has shown unwavering support for those tasked with the duty to protect and serve.
Billa will be missed greatly and his tragic death represents a dear loss for the city of Mobile and for America as a whole, who will remember him as an honorable man who paid the ultimate price trying to keep his fellow citizens safe.