Tuscaloosa gunman charged with 18 counts attempted murder - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Tuscaloosa gunman charged with 18 counts attempted murder

Tuscaloosa shooting suspect (Source: WBRC) Tuscaloosa shooting suspect (Source: WBRC)
Surveillance photo of Tuscaloosa shooter outside bar. Surveillance photo of Tuscaloosa shooter outside bar.
Nathan Van Wilkins (Source: Tuscaloosa County Jail) Nathan Van Wilkins (Source: Tuscaloosa County Jail)

Nathan Van Wilkins, 44, turned himself in after an early morning mass shooting at a Tuscaloosa bar left 17 injured, according to Tuscaloosa police.

About 45 minutes before that attack, police said he shot someone at a home in Northport.

Northport Police said a 30-year-old man was shot in the back at a house around 11:30 Monday night.

He's expected to survive.

Investigators are not saying how Wilkins is connected to that victim.

Jasper Police arrested Wilkins after he called police dispatchers and claimed to have opened fire at the bar. Police took him into custody at a local FedEx store, about 45 minutes away from the crime scene.

Investigators said Wilkins fired an assault rifle into a crowded Tuscaloosa bar early Tuesday morning, injuring 17 people, including three University of Alabama students.

The shots were fired around 12:30 a.m. at Copper Top Bar at the intersection of 4th and 23rd streets. Police arrived at the scene two minutes after the first 911 call was made.

Investigators said a man outside the bar shot into the building. According to DCH Regional Medical Center, 17 victims were brought in to be treated. In a news conference, police said one victim is in "very critical" condition and two others are in critical condition. According to WBRC, the hospital went on lockdown during the incident.

University of Alabama Interim President, Dr. Judy Bonner, said three students suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting. She said two were treated and released from the hospital, and one is being held for observation.

Tuscaloosa Police released photos and video of the suspected shooter shortly after the incident. In the video, Wilkins appears to be walking the streets of downtown Tuscaloosa with an assault rifle.

Authorities said Wilkins shot inside Copper Top and then shot at people as they ran out of the bar. Investigators do not believe this was a random incident and it appeared that the shooter was targeting someone inside the bar.

Tuscaloosa Police said Wilkins arrived at the scene on foot and fled on foot.

Wilkins was returned to Tuscaloosa and has been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting into an occupied building and placed in the Tuscaloosa County Jail and on a $2-million bond.

What type of person would open fire in a public place with seemingly no regard for who they shot?

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Roger Rinn said accused shooter Nathan Van Wilkins may fall into one of three categories.

"A psychopath: Anti-social individual who has no guilt, no anxiety about it. They are very callous. They don't feel human kindness very easily, and that is the most likely diagnosis if you will. The second is someone who was doing drugs and alcohol and was in an altered state as a result, and the third is an individual that could be psychotic who suffers from schizophrenia," he said.

For those who may feel hesitant to put themselves in certain social situations as a result of this type of random violence, Dr. Rinn suggests that the probability of your finding yourself in that type of situation is extremely low - about the same probability of your dying in a plane crash.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved. WBRC contributed to this report.

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