Gunman in Alabama bar shooting turns himself in

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 9:02 AM
Last updated 3:40 PM
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A gunman who fired into a crowded bar and wounded nearly a dozen people turned himself in Tuesday, several hours after the rampage rattled the nearby University of Alabama campus, police said.

The man went to a business about 45 miles north of the shooting in Tuscaloosa and told employees he was the suspect, Police Chief Steve Anderson said. The workers called police and he was taken into custody.

The police chief would not identify the man. Anderson said he still doesn’t know what the motive is, but authorities were investigating whether it involved a dispute between rival motorcycle gangs.

Police also said they believed the rampage was connected to an earlier shooting at a home a couple of miles away from the bar. One person was injured in that shooting.

“We feel certain that we will be able to connect the dots with this individual,” Anderson said.

The gunman stood outside of the Copper Top bar for a few moments around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday and targeted someone inside before firing through a window, police said. Customers immediately ran or crawled away, and the gunman opened fire again with a military-style assault weapon.

Witnesses at the bar described a bloody and chaotic scene, with glass and debris flying around the nightclub.

Rachel Studdard was sitting on a patio with a group of friends, enjoying 50-cent draft beer when the shooting started.

“We heard firecracker sounds. All of a sudden somebody was like, ‘Is that gunfire?’” said Studdard, who recently graduated a two-year college and plans to attend the university in the fall. “They shot in one area and then they started shooting directly where we were.”

A bullet hit Studdard’s toe, and debris hit her in the side and in the leg. Her foot throbbed Tuesday, she said, and she was using crutches to walk. She still had dried blood on her leg.

The shots fired so quickly it sounded like automatic gunfire, she said.

“There were sparks coming off the ground and then I felt a sting and I knew I’d been hit,” she said.

The police chief said 11 people were hit by gunfire and 17 people were taking to the hospital. Most of the injured were hit by bullet fragments or debris, said Brad Fisher, a spokesman at DCH Regional Medical Center.

Two people were in intensive care, one in critical condition and the other in serious condition, Fisher said. Three people were in fair condition and the others were treated and released.

At least three of the injured were university students.

Outside the bar Tuesday, pools of blood were still visible and a trail of bloody footprints could be seen on the sidewalk for about two blocks leading away from the nightclub.

Elizabeth Walters was inside the Copper Top when the shooting started.

“It sounded like it would never end,” Walters said. “There was a lull and then it started up again.”

After the shooting ended, the music in the bar continued to play for several minutes until someone turned it off.

The gunman walked away, down the same street he walked up to get to the bar, Anderson said.

It appeared he shot through the glass of the front double French doors and a side door. The front doors were covered by a black material and two windows were missing from the wooden frames.

Surveillance video showed the man carrying a gun and walking along a sidewalk.

At the home of the earlier shooting, yellow police tape surrounded the single-level, brown ranch-style house. The front window was broken out and three police cars were parked outside. A motorcycle was parked in the garage.

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stillamazed 07/17/12 - 09:52 am

The U.S. has gone crazy all over, not just in this respect for life at all, thier own or anyone elses. Hope they catch the shooter.

Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 07/17/12 - 10:16 am
David Parker
David Parker 07/17/12 - 11:00 am
I thought the big shootout in

I thought the big shootout in downtown Augusta was the only thing newsworthy by all the exposure and negative publicity that was printed about it and the after-effects. You mean to tell me they have crime and violence in other 2nd tier cities throughout the South? Gasp!

That said, my thoughts are again with the victims and making my point in no way diminishes the gravity of this situation. Stay strong 'bama!

avidreader 07/17/12 - 11:48 am
Tornadoes and Bullets!

UA is having a bad year! Destruction everywhere!

PhiloPublius 07/17/12 - 02:07 pm
On a completely different subject...

Why is purchasing marijuana illegal. Yet alcohol, being the worst controlled substance in America, is legal to buy?

I'm not saying the government should be allowed to say what we can and can't buy, but it's a double standard if you ask me.

Its all about the money.

Funny how more shootings occur at bars late at night than at the library during the day, isn't it?

cheapster505 07/17/12 - 03:20 pm
gun rights

it's your/ mine right to own and use a gun for protection of Life Liberty or property.....sadly this was none of those

itsanotherday1 07/17/12 - 09:33 pm
About guns.... What gun law

About guns.... What gun law would have prohibited this from happening?

Techfan 07/18/12 - 06:48 am
50 cent draft???

50 cent draft???

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