Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste didn't offer much information on his slain officer, saying he still needed to visit the University of South Alabama Medical and speak with Billa's wife. Police identified her ex-husband, Robert Hollie, as a person of interest and set up a perimeter around his Toulminville home.
Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement that Alabama "was mourning the loss of one of our own Mobile Police Officers" and added "my prayers are with his wife, young child and the city of Mobile".
The slain officer is survived by a wife and a 1-year-old son, shown in this Blue Lives Matter tweet.
Billa, who joined the force in 2016, was shot and killed in the line of duty Tuesday night while responding to a report of a body.
Justin Billa had joined the force in January 2016 and won Officer of the Month in June 2016
In a 2016 interview with Fox-affiliated WALA-TV, Billa talked about his idea of policing and reducing the rate of crimes in the community.
SWAT teams arrived on the scene around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday after a person barricaded themselves in a home.
Back at the home where Poellnitz lived, her daughter Octavia Poellnitz stood in the street crying, confused about what had just happened to her mother.
"She tells me she loves me everyday before I leave for work and I make sure to do the same", he said. "That's my ideal of good policing and I feel like that's what the chief is working towards". In this photo, Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel Steven Flaherty gets a hug following the funeral for Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates at Saint Paul's Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, Aug. 18, 2017.