Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Police arrest Temerson Square gunman

When he allegedly opened fire in a Northport residence around 11:47 p.m. Monday, Nathan Van Wilkins, 44, of Northport started a 12-hour ordeal that would leave 18 people injured and end with 18 counts of attempted murder filed against him by the Tuscaloosa Police Department.

Wilkins left the scene of the first crime and soon appeared near Temerson Square, where security cameras captured him walking casually and carrying a military-style assault rifle. Minutes later, around 12:19 a.m., Wilkins began shooting at the Copper Top bar and injured 17 more people. By that time, the man Wilkins allegedly shot in the Northport residence was already in critical condition at Druid City Hospital.

Two minutes later, when TPD arrived on the scene, Wilkins was already gone. Police wouldn’t see or hear from the gunman until late the following morning.

“As far as we know, he fled in the same direction he came from,” Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson said at 10 a.m. Tuesday. “He was on foot when he walked up to the bar, and he walked away from the bar, as well.”

At 1:22 a.m., TPD released a statement via Twitter that multiple people had been shot and there were still no suspects in custody. The police did not update the public again until Anderson’s 10 a.m. press conference.

At 10 a.m., Anderson announced to the community that TPD was investigating a suspect – a white male, 5’7” to 5’9” tall, with a stocky build.

TPD’s search would continue until around 11:45 a.m., when Wilkins appeared at a FedEx store in Jasper, Ala. and confessed to being the gunman who opened fire at Copper Top in Tuscaloosa.

Once in custody, according to FOX6 WBRC, Wilkins told Jasper Police Department investigators that he wished he had been shot and killed Tuesday morning by Tuscaloosa police officers.

At another press conference at 1 p.m., Anderson expressed confidence that TPD had the right person in custody.

“Our investigation is continuing, and we’re doing some things to follow up on some findings, but we feel certain that we will be able to connect the dots with this individual and the incidents from last night,” Anderson said.

Anderson also said at the 1 p.m. conference that the suspect should be in Tuscaloosa or minutes away from arriving – federal marshals had already begun transporting Van Wilkins back to Tuscaloosa for questioning and arraignment. At that time, however, TPD withheld Wilkins’ name and photo, opting to make it public later when they formally pressed charges.

TPD announced via Twitter that Wilkins faces 17 charges of attempted murder, among other charges, and a $1.7 million bond at 3:08 p.m. Tuesday. Investigators later raised the bond to $1.8 million and then again to $2 million to reflect a total of 18 charges of attempted murder, one charge of shooting into an occupied dwelling and one charge of shooting into an occupied building.

More to Discover