Did Alabama shooting rampage have a racial motive? Gunman charged with 18 counts of attempted murder 'was hunting black man'

Racial motive? uh..yeah.

Arrested: Nathan Wilkins, 44, has been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder

Arrested: Nathan Wilkins, 44, has been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder

An unemployed man suspected of walking into a bar and shooting customers at random before setting fire to his former workplace and a fuel rig has been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder.

Nathan Wilkins, 44, is said to have entered the Copper Top in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning.

He then opened fire with a military-type assault weapon, wounding 17 people, including one critically and three others seriously, it is claimed.

Police believe he earlier shot a man answering the door of his nearby apartment.

Brian Felton, who lives at the property, last night claimed that the gunman came to his front door looking for his black flatmate Andrew Clements, who had earlier been drinking at the Copper Bar.

The door was opened by another flatmate, Bruce Bankhead. Using racist language, the gunman asked if Mr Clements was home before opening fire and wounding Mr Bankhead.

Neither Mr Felton nor Mr Bankhead know Wilkins.

But after the shooting Mr Felton said he found that someone had scratched 'KKK' into his pick-up truck.

Mr Clements had been with the brother of Wilkins' ex-wife earlier in the evening, but left the Copper Top before gunfire broke out there and was not wounded.

Mr Felton said: 'Even Andrew doesn't know why he's upset with him.'

Police said they were not yet able to verify a racial motive to the shootings.

Sgt Kip Hart said: 'We haven't had anything concrete that it was racial.'

Wilkins is also suspected of an arson attack in the early hours of the morning on the Capstone Oil company premises in nearby Brookwood, where he worked until March. A fuel well rig near the offices was also set ablaze.

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Captured on CCTV: Surveillance footage shows the gunman walking down a street near the Copper Bar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Captured on CCTV: Surveillance footage shows the gunman walking down a street near the Copper Bar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Armed: In the black-and-white video the man appears to be carrying a gun

Armed: In the black-and-white video the man appears to be carrying a military-style assault weapon

Police launched a manhunt before receiving a call from an employee at a FedEx store in Jasper, a town 55 miles north of Tuscaloosa. The employee said Wilkins was there and had confessed to the shooting.

Wilkins was then arrested 'without incident'.

He told police that he had wanted them to kill him, but lost his nerve.

Captain Larry Cantrell said: 'The only thing he said was that he wanted to die and was hoping the Tuscaloosa Police Department had killed him.

'He said, "I wanted the Tuscaloosa police to kill me, but I got scared and left before they got there."'

Survivors of the Copper Bar shooting today revealed the terror that gripped customers when the gunman opened fire.

Local resident Davis Leavelle said: 'We were in the middle of ordering drinks and I saw the shooter open fire.

'I grabbed my sister and we ducked under the pool table. I saw eight or nine people who were shot. Two of our friends were hit in the leg and foot.

'Shell casings hit me and my sister on the back as we sat under the table.'

Police said Wilkins' bail had been set at $2million and offered no possible motive for the shooting.

The suspect's Facebook page showed photos of a balding, shaven-headed man with tattoos on his arms, posing with an assault rifle, standing in front of a Confederate flag and making an obscene gesture, local media said.

The page was taken down shortly after the incident.

Victim: Riley Dunn was one of those caught up in the shooting

Victim: Riley Dunn was one of those caught up in the shooting

Scene: The Copper Top bar in Tuscaloosa, where Wilkins is accused of shooting 17 people

Scene: The Copper Top bar in Tuscaloosa, where Wilkins is accused of shooting 17 people

Wilkins has a history of violent outbursts and legal scrapes dating back to the 1980s.

He was fired from his job at Capstone Oilfield Services in March after a fistfight with a co-worker. Neither was seriously hurt, and Brookwood Assistant Police Chief Jimmy Sellers said he didn't know what caused the fight.

Wilkins told police in April he was angry about his firing from Capstone, and he was pressing assault charges against the co-worker, Chief Sellers said. The other man had also been fired but not arrested.

Wilkins is suspected of setting three fires to equipment or property owned by Capstone.

A fire was set to a Capstone vehicle parked at someone's house after the first shooting, and fires were set at two Captsone locations in Brookwood after the gunfire at the bar. Chief Sellers said Wilkins will be charged with arson.

He speculated that once Wilkins snapped, he may have decided to respond to a number of perceived slights.

Chief Sellers knew of no connection between the shooting victims and Wilkins' former employer.

He said: 'From what we're hearing, he started something so big the night before last that he just said: "I'm going to take care of everything at one time."'

The firing from the supervisory position Wilkins had held for at least six years likely worsened existing financial problems.

A bankruptcy filing from July 20, 2011 shows that Wilkins was taking home about $4,400 each month at the time and that he had grossed about $83,000 in 2010 as a supervisor at Capstone.

Records show that his bankruptcy declaration last year was his third since 1991, and he faced a hearing in a couple of weeks. The move prevented a credit union from garnishing his wages at Capstone, to collect a $15,000 debt.

Wilkins' wife Amy filed for divorce in July 2004 after 16 years of marriage, according to Tuscaloosa County court records. She claimed she was beaten and that Wilkins threatened to kill her and sexually assaulted her.

They have two children, and a judge ordered him to pay $1,300 a month in child support in the divorce decree in March 2005.

Court documents show that Wilkins' wife asked a judge to hold him in contempt for violating a restraining order issued in July 2004. She said that he had threatened her at their son's football practice, saying she needed to 'watch her back'.

Records show that he served about ten days in jail on a contempt citation related to the restraining order.

On Wednesday, people hospitalised after the shooting were improving. One patient was in serious condition and remained in intensive care, said Brad Fisher, a spokesman at DCH Regional Medical Center. Another was in fair condition, while three more had been discharged.

They are among 17 people hurt by either gunshots or debris during the shooting at the Copper Top.

Police accuse Wilkins of standing outside the crowded bar and firing from two different positions, sending customers running or crawling for cover in a chaotic and bloody scene.

No date has been set for Wilkin's first court hearing.


 

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  • 7/21/2012 5:31 PM MrFawohodie wrote:
    So let's break this down: This snow monkey goes to An apartment where black folks live and shoots the guy who opens the door using racist language. Then he writes "KKK" on a truck, and when the black guy he was looking for wasn't there, he goes to a bar where he thinks he is, and shoots everybody the fuck up. And the police have the fucking gall to say they have nothing concrete that indicates it was racially motivated? That's it, I'm moving to the carribean.
    Reply to this
  • 7/23/2012 12:17 PM CosmoChild wrote:
    MrFawohodie is so correct. Another odd (racist) happening going on here is that the media is not juxtaposing the Denver shooting with this shooting(that has no press) and implying and or straight out saying that these two incidents are an indictment on the inferiority of the race that these people come from...white. There is an absence of that reality that POC seem to have to deal with when a member of their race effs up.
    Reply to this
  • 7/23/2012 11:16 PM Ashcan wrote:
    BEWARE OF WHITE PEOPLE.
    Reply to this
  • 7/26/2012 2:55 PM nicoleizhername wrote:
    And he's a punk ass coward too "I wanted the Tuscaloosa police to kill me, but I got scared and left before they got there." Beating on his wife and sexually assaulting her. He had problems way before he ever knew that brutha, but of course he uses that as motivation for his inferiority complex.
    Reply to this
  • 7/30/2012 5:24 PM Germanic European wrote:
    I'm glad to see some negroes are leaving white nations to be within their own people. Please don't come back though later when you all chimp out over each other and want whitey to fix everything for you again. Also please make sure the black nations you do go to, seeing as you actually believe in the power of your race, become good places to live and that blacks want to be there instead of in white nations messing everything up for us.

    If you are going to try to stake your claims here in North America at least fight us for the land. Bring on the race wars and slaughter whites. We all know both our races need a good cleansing.
    Reply to this
    1. 8/1/2012 7:00 AM MST wrote:
      Crazy peckerwoods.
      Reply to this
    2. 11/27/2012 12:00 PM ja sassy wrote:
      please.. just make sure you keep your white women away from our black men.. thats the big problem and stop with the mandingo partys where you bring blk men to sex your white wife.. how disgusting csan you people be.. but yet you hate us.
      Reply to this
  • 10/19/2012 7:46 AM Lenrui wrote:
    Racism involves the belief in racial differences, which acts as a justification for non-equal treatment. For a long time,it has been an issue among the black men. Whether white or black, no one has the right to kill anybody for this reason. -
    Texas Lending
    Reply to this
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