A gunman fired an assault rifle into a crowded Tuscaloosa bar early Tuesday morning, injuring 17 people, including three University of Alabama students.
Nathan Van Wilkins has been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting into an occupied building.
A Decatur man heard the gunshots in Tuscaloosa.
Brad Roberson was sitting next door when the gunman opened fire.
Roberson escaped the gunman when he and his friends made a split second decision to ditch the area.
"Pop, pop, pop, pop and someone says, 'What's going on?' and I stepped outside and looked, and the porch was just chaos," Roberson said.
He was sitting at a bar next to the Copper Top around 1 Tuesday morning. The Decatur native thought someone was banging on a loud drum before he realized what was happening next door.
"And everyone was just running. That's all I really know. I know there was a person down on the porch, and I saw a couple people down inside the bar," he said.
He never saw the gunman, but he took off from downtown Tuscaloosa Street when he kept hearing the gun shots.
"They were just going off so fast," he said.
Roberson's car was parked outside the Copper Top. He tried to pick it up Tuesday morning, like several other bar goers, but was turned away.
He said the shooting will stick with him for the rest of his life.
"Chaos really… Just people crying and running. People that had blood splattered on them from people that had been shot. It was just unreal," said Roberson.
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