Second person involved in shooting on Alabama A&M campus identified by Huntsville Police

Willie Brandon Nance, 23, was booked in the Madison County Jail early this morning on an aggravated assault charge.
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 6:06 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2023 at 11:18 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Two people were hurt after a shooting at Alabama A&M University that put the campus on lockdown on August 22. Both men involved have been identified by Huntsville Police.

On August 23, 23-year-old Willie Brandon Nance was booked in the Madison County Jail on August 23 on an assault charge

Two days later, 20-year-old Christopher Thomas was booked into the Madison County Jail on the same charge.

Willie Brandon Nance
Willie Brandon Nance(Madison County Jail)
Christopher Thomas
Christopher Thomas(Madison County Sheriff's Office)

The shooting is believed to be an isolated incident stemming from an argument between two people. The two people shot each other, the HPD spokesperson said, adding there was never an active shooter threat on A&M’s campus.

One of the people involved, according to HPD, drove to Huntsville Hospital with minor injuries. Police took the second person involved into custody on A&M’s campus. The police spokeswoman said the second person also had minor injuries.

Alabama A&M students told to take shelter after reports of armed person on  campus
Alabama A&M students told to take shelter after reports of armed person on campus(WAFF)

Earlier on the night of the incident, Huntsville Fire and Rescue District Chief Jay Gates reported a third person was injured.

A&M Senior Nuke Mills told WAFF 48 News that the fight broke out over food. Once he realized the two students had guns, he quickly left the cafeteria to get to safety.

“It’s a lot going on, I don’t even want to go to school here no more,” Mills said. “I can’t believe this, I’m thinking I’m safe here in the cafe. Like, I’m in the cafe everyday. I already don’t have any housing, now I’ve got to walk around campus with an active shooter? I’m scared, I’m terrified for real. I’m just ready to go back home.”

A&M Junior Madison Thomas said she heard the shots fired across campus. She added that she’s never felt unsafe on campus before, but now moving forward, she feels differently.

“I am fearing for my safety and for me to work on campus, I’m scared that someone might come into our campus on the same type of nonsense that they did in the cafeteria.”

Police and university leaders lifted the campus lockdown at 6:40 p.m., roughly an hour after the shooting was reported. Huntsville Police will take over the investigation.

WAFF 48 News obtained the original message university officials sent to students:

WAFF 48 News obtained the message university officials sent to students:
WAFF 48 News obtained the message university officials sent to students:(ANON)

Below is the statement A&M issued lifting the lockdown:

Campus police chief Montrez Payton said he’s glad no other students were injured, and their quickness to alert campus police made a difference.

“These are some dangerous times that we’re in,” he said. “It’s important for our students to know that this is a safe campus. It’s important when you see situations like this with fights or things that escalate, that students will say something so we can get involved and just stay safe.”

Alabama A&M put out an alert stating there is no active threat as of 6:40 p.m. Tuesday

Dr. Daniel Wims, President of Alabama A&M, released a statement on Wednesday morning:

Dear Alabama A&M University community,

The safety and well-being of our students and campus community will always be our top priority. We deeply regret the distress caused by the unfortunate incident on our campus yesterday and want to assure you that we are taking every measure to maintain the ongoing safety and security of our campus.

I want to thank our campus police and University staff who worked quickly to move students to safety and provide updates in real time. I’m also proud of our students who displayed an incredible amount of patience and vigilance during an evolving emergency situation.

Last evening, Campus Police Chief Montez Payton provided the University’s official comments on the timeline of the events. All further inquiries will be directed to the Huntsville Police Department (HPD), which is leading the investigation.

In relation to the incident, HPD has indicated that the shooting was an isolated occurrence stemming from a confrontation between two individuals who both sustained minor injuries and received medical attention. The HPD Violent Crimes Unit Investigators have determined that this was not an active shooter incident and that no evidence suggests the involvement of any other parties.

As with all campus emergencies, Bulldog Alerts were prioritized to keep us all aware as this incident developed. I encourage all who live, learn, and work on The Hill to make sure you are registered to receive these critical updates as one of our campus’ first lines of defense in keeping all Bulldogs safe.

I understand the concerns this incident has raised. Please know that we remain committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our campus community. We will continue to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and take necessary actions to prevent such incidents in the future.

Thank you for your understanding and ongoing support.

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