Man, 60, dead in Bessemer shooting; police say killing appears justifiable

Thursday, 23 November 2017, 06:53:25 AM. Bessemer police identified the man Jerry Wayne Clements. Court records show he was convicted of robbery in 1986 and 1998.

A 60-year-old Bessemer twice convicted of robbery was shot to death Wednesday morning in what authorities say could have been yet another holdup.

Bessemer police identified the man Jerry Wayne Clements. Court records show he was convicted of robbery in 1986 and 1998.

Bessemer officers were dispatched to 10th Avenue North and 17th Street North about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday after receiving several calls about a man in the area who was armed and threatening residents, said Sgt. Cortice Miles.

When police arrived, Miles said they found the adult white male suffering from a gunshot wound. Clements was pronounced dead on the scene.

Miles said the investigation is ongoing and few details are being released at this time. However, he said the preliminary investigation shows Clements may have been killed during a robbery.

Three people - including a woman - were taken to the Bessemer Police Department for questioning, Miles said. At this point, it does not appear they will be charged with any crime. A handgun also was recovered from the shooting scene.

Witnesses said Clements tried to rob someone else moments before the incident in which he was killed.

Clements is Bessemer's second fatal shooting this week, and the 12th in 2017. Bessemer had only five homicides last year, and nine in 2015.

In all of Jefferson County, there have been 147 homicides this year compared to 151 in 2016.

"That's not a number we're proud of,'' Miles said. He described the increase in homicides in the Birmingham area and nationwide as "animalistic and senseless."

"People are not thinking about their actions before they do something,'' Miles said. "We have to stop these senseless killings."

He said the community has helped with some recent arrests, and he hopes that cooperation continues. "Law enforcement can't do it by themselves,'' he said. ""You'd be amazed how much power you as citizens have that we don't have."

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