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Alabama shooting: 17 injured, suspect in custody

Surveillance video shows the suspected gunman who opened fire a bar in the college town of Tuscaloosa, Ala., in the early morning of Tuesday, July 17, 2012.

July 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man accused of firing into a crowded bar in Tuscaloosa near the University of Alabama campus has been taken into custody.

Police Chief Steve Anderson said the gunman surrendered to authorities about 10 hours after the shooting. Nathan Van Wilkins, 44, went to a business and told employees at the business that he was the suspect. The employees called police, and he was taken into custody.

A motive remains unknown, but they are investigating whether it involved a dispute between rival motorcycle gangs.

A gunman fired into the crowded Copper Top bar around 12:30 a.m. Police say 11 people were hit by gunfire and 17 were taken to the hospital. Most were injured by bullet fragments or debris, according to a hospital official.

According to police, the gunman stood outside of the bar for a few moments and targeted someone inside through a window before opening fire. Customers inside the bar ran out or crawled away, and the gunman opened fire a second time with a military-style assault weapon.

Surveillance video captured images of the suspected gunman. In the surveillance video, the alleged suspect is carrying what looks like a gun as he walks down a sidewalk.

At 10:30 a.m., Wilkins walked into a business in Jasper, about 45 miles north of the shootings.

"He came up to me and said, 'I'm the one they are looking for that shot the 17 people in Tuscaloosa," the store's co-owner, Ken Barfield said.

Barfield said he talked to the man and offered him some water, even though he was terrified. The man showed no signs of being on drugs, but told Barfield he had been taking drugs at the time of the bar shooting, he said.

"I told him to keep his hands out in the open so police could see them when they got here," Barfield said.

Police believe the shooting was connected to a shooting that occurred about 45 minutes earlier at a nearby home. Two people who lived there were involved in the shooting, and one was wounded, according to police.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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