Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:33 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:33:42 GMT
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Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:21:12 GMT
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TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) -
Police are reporting 17 people have been injured during a shooting in downtown Tuscaloosa. The incident happened around 1 a.m. at Copper Top Bar located at 4th Street and 23rd Avenue.
According to authorities, someone on the outside of the bar started shooting inside the location. Police say there are multiple victims. According to DCH Regional Medical Center, 17 victims are being treated at the location. Two victims are in critical condition and two are listed as in serious condition. The hospital went on lockdown during the incident and remained under lockdown until 3 a.m.
Police have confirmed that three of the victims are University of Alabama students. A spokesperson for the University of Alabama confirmed to FOX6 News that two of the students were treated and released from the hospital. Another has been admitted but none of the students have life threatening injuries.
A "newly hired" football analyst for the University, Kelvin Sigler, was also treated at the hospital for a non-life threatening injury.
Riley Dunn, who was at the Copper Top Bar when the shooting started, told Fox6 News that he saw a person fall when the shooting first started. Dunn says it appeared that the person may have been inebriated, but when more bullets were fired, the bar erupted in chaos.
"It was like when you kick an antbed," said Dunn about the panic.
Dunn was struck in his calf by either a bullet or shrapnel. He says the injuries he sustained were nothing compared to what some others received.
"Some people were way much worse. I'm mighty blessed to be in the shape I'm in. There were people shot in the stomach and chest...shoulders...There was one girl shot in both legs," recalled Dunn.
During a news conference at 10 a.m., Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson said that he believed the suspect in the case was targeting a certain individual and that the shooting does not appear to be random.
According to the chief, the suspect walked up the hill on 23rd Avenue while carrying what appeared to be a "military-style assault weapon." Anderson stated that the suspect lingered outside of the bar for several moments before he opened fire and fired from two separate vantage points. As for his escape, Anderson says the suspect traveled the same way he came by foot, down 23rd Avenue.
Tuscaloosa police say they have now reached out to state and federal law enforcement for help in finding the suspect. Police visibility in the downtown area has increased and suspects are being actively sought.
Chief Anderson says he believes federal investigators will be able to enhance the surveillance footage. When that is complete, the video of the suspect will be reissued to the media.
A shooting on Monday night before midnight at a residence in nearby Northport has not been confirmed to be connected to the Tuscaloosa shooting, but police say investigators will compare the shell casings. One person was injured in that shooting.
Tuscaloosa police say the shooter or shooters are still on the loose. The Tuscaloosa Police Department tweeted a description of the suspect, saying he is a white male between 5'7" and 5'9" tall. If you have any information about the shooting, please call 205-349-2121.
Governor Robert Bentley responded to the Tuscaloosa shooting on Twitter:
"Offering prayers for all those affected by the #Tuscaloosa shootings. I have confidence in the authorities as they work to find the suspect."
Birmingham Mayor William Bell also offered words of support for the City of Tuscaloosa and Mayor Walt Maddox in the following statement:
"Our prayers go out to the victims and families of those injured in Tuscaloosa last night. Our thoughts are with the Mayor and his law enforcement team as they set out to restore peace and calm to their city."