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Chief: Store shooting could have been a tragedy

SPANISH FORT, Ala. (AP) — Police say a man wearing body armor, and armed with multiple AR-15 style firearms, opened fire into an Alabama sporting goods store, shooting off dozens of rounds before being captured by police.

Police said no one was injured in the shooting at Bass Pro Shops in Spanish Fort. Authorities described the incident as an averted tragedy.

Spanish Fort Police Chief John Barber identified the suspected shooter as 38-year-old Robert Smith from the Grove Hill area, WKRG reported. Barber said Smith is being treated for an undisclosed medical condition not related to his arrest. He said charges are pending, and police don’t yet know what motivated the shooting.

“He had three AR-style weapons, he had an AR-style pistol, he had a 9 mm rifle, a shotgun, and two 9 mm pistols,” Barber told the station describing the weapons they say Smith came with.

Police said the man came to the boat and ATV service area of the retailer and opened fire. Barber said they don’t have an exact count right now on how many shots were fired but they recovered at least 30 casings so far and believe they came from at least three different weapons. Police subdued the suspect with a Taser. An officer received minor injuries during the capture.

“This could have been a completely different incident than what it was. The officers responded quickly. They were able to stop this from becoming a huge tragedy. It’s our impression he went to the employee side, where the boat repair is. Perhaps he didn’t know where the front entrance was,” said Barber.

“Normal people don’t do what he did yesterday, so that had to be some underlying factor, but we are trying to determine that at this point,” the police chief said

A store employee told news outlets that the man fired multiple shots into a store window and door. Photos from the scene showed multiple bullet holes in the door of the popular retailer.

“He shot through our window right here in the marine area,” store employee, Davis Marrero told FOX10. “Luckily, one of the guys who works in that area closed the door before he was able to get inside, and he just shot up the entire place. I mean, he literally shot through that door at least 50 times.”

Police said a woman initially taken into custody with Smith, appeared to be trying to stop Smith and that a witness report that she appeared to be helping him was mistaken. She was released.

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