MOBILE, ALABAMA — On Tuesday night at 9:50 p.m., police responded to the area of Ridge Road West in reference to a female body found, identified as 58-year-old Fonda Poellnitz. Through continued investigation, detectives followed up on the whereabouts of Poellnitz’s ex-husband, 71-year-old Robert Hollie.
Police responded to Hollie’s residence located at 2052 Avondale Court. They observed a vehicle that belonged to Hollie in the driveway. At some point, while waiting for additional officers to set up perimeter, Hollie fired multiple shots with one round striking Officer Justin Billa. Officer Billa was immediately removed from the scene and transported to the hospital where he later died.
Officers attempted to make contact with Hollie by telephone and with use of the PA system. SWAT members deployed tactics that ultimately granted them access to the residence. Hollie was found deceased inside the residence from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“When they got no response from Mr. Hollie inside the residence, they deployed other tactics which allowed them to gain access into the residence,” said MPD Chief Lawrence Battiste. “Moments after gaining access into the residence they were able to make a determination that Mr. Hollie was deceased. It would appear that Mr. Hollie died from a self-inflicted wound.”
“This death affects much more than the family and this department,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “The death of a first responder in the line of duty is a loss that affects our entire city. This is a difficult day for our community. We take strength in knowing that when an officer falls our resolve to serve those in need is not diminished. Our dedication to protect those in danger is not weakened.”
Mobile’s police chief said, “Officer Billa was an outstanding officer for the Mobile Police Department. … Officer Billa made the ultimate sacrifice for our community. He gave his life. His family has made an enormous sacrifice and we are thankful that the community has shown such an outcry of support to the sacrifice he has made.”