On Monday, September 16, Alabama police officer Dornell Cousette was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a 20-year-old man who was wanted on a felony failure to appear. Cousette, a father of two daughters who was engaged to be married, is fondly remembered as a hero in his community.
“In our community, our heroes wear the police uniform of the Tuscaloosa Police Department,” Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said at a press conference Monday night. “And tonight, one of our heroes has died in the line of duty, protecting our city.”
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said, “The ultimate sacrifice of Officer Dornell Cousette will never be forgotten.”
Cousette was a 13-year veteran with the department, but the 40-year-old policeman was killed by Luther Watkins Jr. on Monday. Watkins, who was injured in the gunfire and treated at an “undisclosed location,” was charged with capital murder and held without bond, according to Interim Police Chief Mitt Tubbs.
The state of Alabama and country immediately rallied around the fallen officer’s senseless murder, and the City of Tuscaloosa isn’t done honoring this hero. A candlelight vigil is being held at Government Plaza in Tuscaloosa on Thursday, September 19.
Not only that, but the University of Alabama Crimson Tide prepared an awesome spectacle in Dornell Cousette’s memory.
The university announced that from 8 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday night, iconic Bryant-Denny Stadium would be illuminated in blue lights to honor the local Tuscaloosa officer.
Tuscaloosa’s CBS affiliate WIAT also reported that a Tuscaloosa police car will be parked at the Walk of Champions until noon on Friday.
Bryant-Denny Stadium will be undergoing multi-million renovations over the next few years, but one of the most recent additions, separate from those upgrades, is a new LED lighting system installed by Musco Lighting. The lights were unveiled in an August tweet by the Alabama Football program, and with Cousette’s homage, most everyone in Tuscaloosa was able to see the Alabama sky light up.
If you can’t be there, show your support for law enforcement everywhere with a Thin Blue Line wristband. I wear mine everyday to honor my sister, who is in training to become an officer herself.
A GoFundMe fundraiser was launched to raise donations for a scholarship fund in Investigator Cousette’s honor. At the time of publishing, more than $10,000 had been raised.