A college researcher in Alabama was found fatally shot after his car slammed into a pole in Birmingham, authorities said.
David Gibbs Westbrook Jr., 50, crashed his SUV into a utility pole in east Birmingham late Monday and responding cops determined he had been shot, police told AL.com.
No arrests had been made as of Friday and investigators aren’t ruling out the possibility that the manager of the Christian Faul Lab at UAB’s Heersink School of Medicine was shot during an attempted robbery or carjacking.
A “clear motive” for the slaying has not been determined in the ongoing investigation, Birmingham police Sgt. Rod Mauldin told The Post.
“It’s a really big shock,” Westbrook’s friend, Kelly Hawthorne Jefferson, told the outlet. “It just doesn’t make a lot of sense … I just can’t imagine him being targeted.”
Jefferson said Westbrook, of Birmingham, was “one of the most kind human beings out there” and didn’t deserve to die the way he did.
“If he had a dollar in his pocket and a homeless person walked up to him, he would hand it to him even if it was all he had left,” Jefferson continued.
Westbrook, an academic researcher for 25 years, had rescued a dog named Dankers and quickly got attached to the Labrador that was in the SUV with him when he died. The animal is now being cared for by a relative, AL.com reported.
“He loved to be outside and walk around and take the dog with him and hang out at Railroad Park,” Jefferson said. “He never met a stranger. He was easy to talk to, very down to earth.”
A UAB spokeswoman did not have additional information to provide when reached by The Post for comment Friday.
“We are working through this and will be in touch soon,” the spokeswoman wrote in an email.
Westbrook’s death is being investigated as a homicide, the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office previously told the Trussville Tribune.