David Gibbs Westbrook Jr (born October 18, 1971 at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia; died May 23, 2022 in Birmingham) was a biologist and manager of the Christian Faul research laboratory at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine and a murder victim.
David, the son of David and Darlene Wastbrook, grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas and graduated from Fayetteville High School in 1990. He completed a bachelor of science in microbiology at the University of Arkansas in 1995 and a master of science in food science and microbiology at Alabama A&M University in 1998.
Westbrook came to UAB in 1999 and joined the Faul Lab in January 2020 where he conducted research on the effects of high phosphate intake with chronic kidney disease in rodent models. He was a member of the American Society for Microbiology and had contributed to numerous scientific articles.
Westbrook was active in the Birmingham community and volunteered with Birmingham AIDS Outreach. He was also a top player in the augmented reality mobile game "Pokémon Go". Friends speculate that he was playing the game, or walking his dog at the Cornerstone Elementary School's soccer field, on the night he was murdered.
Westbrook was shot to death on Monday, May 23, 2022. He was found shortly before 11:00 PM behind the wheel of his SUV, which had crashed into a utility pole at on 54th Street North near Georgia Road in Woodlawn. Video from a surveillance camera behind Imperial Cleaners showed an unknown suspect walking toward Westbrook's car, parked off-camera in a lot behind Woodlawn United Methodist Church. The same person was then recorded trotting away shortly afterward. No suspects or motives have been identified, and no arrests made. A $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest has been offered through Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama.
- Robinson, Carol (May 25, 2022) "50-year-old Birmingham man found fatally shot after crashing into utility pole now identified." The Birmingham News
- Robinson, Carol (May 26, 2022) "UAB researcher shot to death in Birmingham always helped others: ‘Everybody is just reeling’." The Birmingham News
- "David Gibbs Westbrook Jr" obituary (June 2, 2022) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
- Robinson, Carol (May 23, 2023) "Killer remains on the loose 1 year after UAB researcher found shot to death in Birmingham." AL.com