By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
Almost two years ago, Montgomery musician Andrew Lewis was killed in one of the oddest shooting deaths that I’ve ever encountered — both because of the facts surrounding the shooting and because of the way the Montgomery Police Department and City of Montgomery officials handled the death investigation.
I covered the case extensively when working for the Montgomery newspaper, and later provided more details and told the story in a complete narrative on my personal blog. In the months since publishing the final blog entry, there have been a few updates to the case, including a grand jury verdict and an investigation by a podcaster that revealed a few new details.
What will follow here are the seven blog entries — one per day — but altered slightly to fit better on the APR website. At the end, I will provide an update on the most recent movements in the case.
Without further ado, here is your introduction to: The Death of Andrew Lewis.
In the early morning hours of Jan. 17, 2016, residents in the Henley Hedge neighborhood just off Bell Road in Montgomery were awakened by gunshots.
Some heard two shots. Others heard three or more. But several heard the shots, and since such noise isn’t common in the area, many looked out of their windows to see if they could find the source of the noise or possibly spot the shooter.
Most of them reported seeing nothing, dismissing the whole thing as either fireworks or possibly their imagination, and went back to sleep.
But that was not the case for one resident. She declined to have her name used by reporters but did provide an extremely detailed account of the strange scene on Bell Road that she spotted from her second-floor window.
Standing in the middle of the street, a young, blonde girl – probably in her late teens or 20s – wearing a white coat was pacing back and forth, waving her arms in the air. “It was like she was saying what have you done or I can’t believe this happened,” the witness said.
A white SUV – a small one – was parked in the middle of Bell Road. Another smaller car was also there. Up against a power pole, some 15 yards from the roadway, a third car was sitting up against the pole and a small fire was starting underneath it.
And there was something lying in Bell Road. Something … the witness couldn’t make it out … clothing, maybe? A person?
The witness turned from the window, yelled to her husband that something strange was happening and started to get dressed.
By the time she got downstairs and out of her front door, the Montgomery Police Department was on the scene. The SUV against the power pole was engulfed in flames, with the flames extending some 15-20 feet in the air. Black burn marks well up the pole would back up that story.
The object lying in the southbound lane of Bell Road – the one she couldn’t make out before – was now covered by a sheet, and it was obviously a body.
It was the body of 31-year-old local musician Andrew Lewis.
This is where the sad story of the death of Andrew Lewis began. Of course, those of us who were reporting on this story, along with most of Lewis’ family and friends, weren’t aware of it at the time. In fact, even his closest relatives wouldn’t learn of his death until eight hours later.
That was the first of what would become a pile of oddities in this case. Along the way, the Montgomery Police Department would add to the oddities, with strange behavior that included hiding documents from the media and public and misrepresenting the facts of the case on numerous occasions.
But the oddities don’t stop with the police. The entire incident is like a giant Rubik’s Cube. Each time you think the pieces fit and the story is settled, you find another piece out of place.