The following article, Southern Interstate Now a Crime Scene After Alarming Shooting: 'Everybody's a Suspect', was first published on Flag And Cross.
Friday night traffic in Birmingham, Alabama, is often a headache, especially on a holiday weekend — but not usually because the local highways are shut down for criminal investigations.
That’s what happened at about 4:40 Friday afternoon, however, when a group of people searching for their stolen black SUV thought they’d found it, and confronted those inside.
By the time officers arrived at the scene, several people had been shot, according to Birmingham Police Public Information Officer Truman Fitzgerald, who held a news conference that was frequently interrupted by the noise of sirens and was posted online by WVTM.
Fitzgerald said that during their initial investigation, officers learned that two other shooting victims had been transported to University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital.
Two of the adult males shot in the incident were being treated for “life-threatening injuries,” according to Fitzgerald.
WVTM reported that the two other adult males wounded were not considered to be in danger for their lives.
An uninjured woman who was on the interstate when officers arrived was also taken into custody, Fitzgerald said.
“We believe that a group of individuals saw their stolen vehicle, or alleged stolen vehicle, and they began following that vehicle,” Fitzgerald said. “We believe that this took place in a neighboring city.”
“They took it upon themselves to confront this group,” he said. “A shootout ensued between both groups and four adult males were shot.”
Fitzgerald said that officers believed that all of the wounded were connected with one of the two groups of people involved.
“Everybody’s a suspect right now,” Fitzgerald said as additional sirens could be heard behind him. “If you’re shot at UAB right now, you’re a suspect.”
The suspects were not identified by name, and Fitzgerald limited their descriptions to “adult males,” specifying that one of them — the only one he had personally seen — was a “young adult male.”
Police told WVTM that they were searching the area after witnesses reported others who were involved in the shooting leaving the scene on foot.
The allegedly stolen vehicle was disabled by the shooting, Fitzgerald said, and had to be removed from the highway by a wrecker.
AL.com said that, in addition to the traffic in the southbound lanes of I-59, a wreck in the northbound lanes at about 6:30 p.m., roughly two hours after the shooting, tied up traffic in that direction as well.
“It speaks to the mentality that so many in our community have,’’ Fitzgerald said. “If they think they’re wronged, they’re going to take it in their own hands. This could have been handled so much different.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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