Ala. Trooper credited with saving lives during mass shooting dies of COVID-19

Ala. Trooper credited with saving lives during mass shooting dies of COVID-19
Longtime Wiregrass lawman Michael L. Gillis passed away at the age of 59 years old. (Source: State of Alabama via WTVY)

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - A well-known Alabama law enforcement officer credited with saving lives during the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history has died.

Mike Gillis, 59, passed away Saturday from complications related to COVID-19.

Gillis, of Samson, has served in a variety of roles through the years, including time as an Alabama State Trooper and 30 years with the State Bureau of Investigations. At the time of his retirement, he was serving as a special agent.

He was also very active in Samson and Geneva County serving the community in various capacities over the years.

He was a member of the Alabama National Guard fighting the war on terror in Iraq, a former member of the Geneva County Board of Education and worked with Samson Fire and Rescue through the years.

In March of 2009, Gillis responded to reports of a shooting in Samson. He intercepted a vehicle driven by Michael McLendon, who authorities say killed 10 people. Gillis, while under heavy gunfire, was able to provide other law enforcement critical information that led to the shooter being stopped before he could take additional actions.

For his efforts, Gillis was presented an Award of Valor by United States Attorney Leura Canary.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church of Samson. Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery with Warren Holloway Ward Funeral Home of Geneva directing. The family will receive friends at the church on Tuesday beginning at 9 a.m.

He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Shannon Gillis, of Samson; one son, Chris Gillis (Jessi) of Samson; one daughter, Hannah Gillis of Samson; one granddaughter, Maci Lynn Gillis of Samson; and his mother, Mabel Gillis of Samson.

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.