Sheriff: Man with rifle storms into restaurant, opens fire

A man with a rifle stormed into an Alabama restaurant Wednesday morning and opened fire, killing the owner and wounding three other people, authorities said.

Posted: Mar 7, 2018 6:46 PM

HURTSBORO, Ala. (AP) — A man with a rifle stormed into an Alabama restaurant Wednesday morning and opened fire, killing the owner and wounding three other people, authorities said.

The suspect entered the City Grill in the east Alabama town of Hurtsboro, yelled out the name of the owner and started firing a .22-caliber rifle, Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said.

The suspect knew the cafe owner, 69-year-old Donny Hughes, who was killed in the barrage of gunfire, the sheriff said. He did not release a motive.

The wounded were taken to hospitals, and one of them was in surgery, the sheriff said.

The suspect left the restaurant and went to his home nearby, where he was taken into custody. The sheriff declined to release his name, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported .

"I have said for a period of time now that my opinion — and it's just my opinion — that these shootings involving mentally disturbed individuals are occurring more and more because of the media attention that they receive when they get it, when they do something, and they see whatever attention that the offender gets on TV," the sheriff told reporters.

"I'm not talking about him, I'm not saying his name, I'm not saying anything other than he's in custody," Taylor added.

About eight to 10 customers were eating breakfast in the restaurant shortly before dawn when the shooting occurred, The Opelika-Auburn News reported .

"There were several rounds fired within the cafe," the sheriff said. "We have worked the scene and recovered many, many shell casings."

After the shooting, police surrounded the suspect's nearby home and the sheriff said he called the man's cellphone.

"I spoke to him, advised him to come out of the house with his hands where we could see them, and he complied and was taken into custody with no incident," the sheriff said.

Hurtsboro is near the Alabama-Georgia line, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of Columbus, Georgia.

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