Tuscaloosa shooter will face 18 attempted murder charges
Nathan Van Wilkins was transferred into Tuscaloosa police custody on Tuesday after an early morning shooting left 17 injured. (Source: WBRC)
Van Wilkins was arrested hours after the shooting. (Source: Tuscaloosa Police Department)
(Source: Tuscaloosa County Jail)
Security cameras at the Copper Top bar in Tuscaloosa, AL, caught footage of the man who opened fire at the bar. (Source: Tuscaloosa Police Dept./Facebook)
TUSCALOOSA, AL (RNN) - Police have arrested a 44-year-old man for attempted murder after police said he opened fire at a Tuscaloosa, AL, bar early Tuesday morning, injuring 17.
Nathan Van Wilkins was charged with one count of attempted murder. Authorities said they are getting 16 more warrants for attempted murder and one warrant for shooting into an occupied building.
An 18th count of attempted murder stems from a shooting that happened in nearby Northport about 45 minutes before the shooting at the bar.
Police say shells casings recovered match the shell casing at the scene of the Tuscaloosa shooting.
The counts bring his total bond to $2 million.
Van Wilkins turned himself in to Jasper, AL, police after he called dispatchers and claimed to have opened fire at the bar. Police took him into custody at a local FedEx store.
Jasper is about 45 miles from Tuscaloosa.
Van Wilkins reportedly told Jasper police he had hoped officers in Tuscaloosa would kill him after the shooting rampage.
Police have no motive for the suspect and have yet to recover a weapon. His name was given to police initially through a tip from Crime Stoppers.
One person is in critical, one person in serious condition and three of the victims are listed in fair condition.
A shooter, allegedly Van Wilkins, shot through windows and doors at the Copper Top bar before calmly walking away from the scene. Police said at least 11 shots were fired.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson said they believed surveillance footage from the bar showed the shooter walking in a "watchful and observant" way toward the bar, indicating he may have had an individual target in mind, and the shooting was not a random act of violence.
Van Wilkins was caught on surveillance cameras carrying an assault weapon through the bar's parking lot.
The shooting, near one of the South's most well-known institutions of higher learning, happened just a month after gunfire near Auburn University killed three. The two universities share a sometimes contentious college football rivalry.
A witness at the scene told WBRC that he saw victims who were shot in the stomach, chest and through both legs.
Riley Dunn, a civil engineering student at the University of Alabama, sustained minor injuries from flying debris. He was watching a pool tournament with friends when the shooter opened fire.
"We didn't know what happened, so we all … went away outside, and he just started really opening up then," Dunn said to Birmingham's WBRC.
He described shattered glass, smoke and sparks in the chaos that followed.
Three of the victims, including Dunn, were students at the University of Alabama. Of the three, two were treated and released from the Druid City Hospital while the third is still being held for observation.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were injured in the shooting in downtown Tuscaloosa last night," the university said in a statement.
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