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Police arrest man in Ala. bar shooting

Posted at 1:19 PM, Jul 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-17 13:19:02-04

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) — The suspect in an early morning shooting at a bar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is in custody, Tuscaloosa police Sgt. Brent Blankley said Tuesday.

Blankley said the police would disclose more details at a 2 p.m. ET news conference.

Multiple people were shot early Tuesday at bar near the University of Alabama campus.

Earlier, police Chief Steve Anderson described the gunman as a stocky white male who is between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-9. It appeared from surveillance video that he walked up to the bar, stood outside for a few minutes looking for someone and then began shooting a military-style assault rifle, Anderson said.

Blankley said 17 people were admitted to DCH hospital with injuries related to the shooting. Anderson could not confirm how many of those admitted were shot and how many were injured by shrapnel or flying objects. Of those hurt, he said, one was in "extremely critical" condition, and three others were in critical condition.

Police will work with federal authorities to enhance the surveillance footage, he said.

Eleven shell casings have been recovered, Blankley said. The casings will be compared to those from a shooting that happened in a nearby neighborhood earlier in the evenint, Anderson said.

The shooting occurred about 12:30 a.m. at the Copper Top bar, Blankley said.

DCH hospital briefly went on lockdown after the incident in order to handle the influx of patients.

Riley Dunn, a University of Alabama senior who was injured in the shooting, told The Tuscaloosa News that 80 to 90 people were in the bar at the time.

"We were all just shooting pool and hanging out," Dunn said. "It was kind of loud from the music, but we heard the gunshot, and no one really knew what to think. The first gunshot took place, then about 20 seconds later, that's when he really started firing them off. After that, everyone really scattered."

Dunn said he sustained a a shrapnel-like wound to his leg.

Anderson said three of the people injured during the shooting were students.

Justin McDaniel, who was with Dunn at the scene, told The Tuscaloosa News that the injured left trails of blood outside the bar. He wasn't injured, but his shirt had large splotches of blood on it from running through the bar, the newspaper said.

"We started getting away from the gunshot, like going towards out front, and that's where all the shooting really took place at," one witness told CNN affiliate WBMA. All he could see, he said, was "sparks and people ducking and glass busting. ... We never saw the guy shooting."

Tuscaloosa, about 60 miles southwest of Birmingham, is home to the University of Alabama. The Copper Top is about a mile from campus.

CNN's Dave Alsup and Meridith Edwards contributed to this report.

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