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Tuscaloosa Shooting Suspect in Custody

Posted by Kristy Griffith | July 17, 2012 / 04:35pm | Top Story, Local News, Crime
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WCBI) --The gunman who fired into a crowded Tuscaloosa bar overnight has turned himself into authorities. Authorities say 44-year-old, Nathan Van Wilkins turned himself into police after walking into a FED-EX in Jasper Tuesday (7-17) afternoon.

He has been charged with one count of attempted murder, although investigators are still working to obtain 16 more warrants for attempted murder and one for shooting into an occupied building.

Wilkins is being held on a $100,000 bond, but police say it will be increased to 1.8 million once all the counts are added.

In a surveillance video released by police, a man can be seen walking through a parking lot near the Copper Top bar with a military style assault rifle in one hand around 12:30 Tuesday morning. Police say the man fired through a window, then fired at least 11 shots at people as they ran outside at two different vantage points. They say Wilkins was likely targeting someone inside.

Chief Steve Anderson of the Tuscaloosa Police said, "When he first walked up there were people on the sidewalk, and he stood for several minutes watching and observing before ever firing a single shot. "

An unidentified witness said, "It was so loud, couldn't really tell what was going on. All you see was sparks and people ducking, and glass busting, we never saw the guy shooting."

Chief Anderson says he still doesn't know what the motive is, but they are investigating whether it involved a dispute between rival motorcycle gangs.They also think it was connected to an earlier shooting at a home in Northport.

Seventeen people were treated at a local hospital this morning. One person is still in critical condition.
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