The people's voice of reason

13 people wounded in shootout in Montgomery

A large party in Montgomery turned deadly as the early Sunday morning party of over a thousand people degenerated into a massive gun battle with a number of shooters and hundreds of rounds were fired. Thirteen people were wounded in the event, that is being called – the largest mass shooting in Alabama history – outside of the Civil War and the Creek Indian uprising.

"I am proud to be standing before you today along with our law enforcement officers," said Mayor Reed. "I am not proud to be standing here today talking about another episode of gun violence that took place in our city. This senseless act is something that should not happen. Those that were part of this we are certainly looking for those who perpetuated this crime, not only on the victims; but also on the entire community."

"We have got to make sure that in our city that there is a greater appreciation for life, there is a greater appreciation for conflict resolution, that there is a greater appreciation for de-escalating situations without pulling a gun," said Reed. "This senseless violence just has to stop. There are too many outlets for people to get help, to get assistance without resorting to gun violence."

"We have to have individual responsibility and accountability for what is happening in our city," Reed said. "Those who know what happened need to come and let us know who was involved and why they were involved. There are anonymous ways to do that. You cannot expect to be in a safer community if you are part of the problem. We are calling on our community to do their part to help law enforcement."

Under Reed's tenure as Mayor, a number of officers have left the Department, two police chiefs have been fired, and the Montgomery Police Department has struggled to recruit new officers. The force has over two hundred unfilled positions unfilled, and critics have suggested that the lack of police manpower is contributing to the rise in lawlessness in the city.

"It doesn't matter how many law enforcement officers we have. We could have three times the number of officers," said Reed. "They can't be on every street corner policing every interaction and every situation. Our law enforcement community is doing everything they can to make this a safer community."

"I am calling on those who were there in the North Pass community," said Reed. "If you know something, say something let us know what happened."

Acting Chief John Hall said that the police were phone about shots fired at 1:48 a.m. At 1:50 that changed to people had been shot. The Chief said that the first officers were on the scene by 1:55. "A seven-minute response time."

"Only two victims were on the scene," Chief Hall explained. "We did have 11 additional victims taken to the hospital via personal vehicles. Three victims were hit by vehicles leaving the scene and one victim hit by flying glass. There were nine gunshot victims."

"This was an unpermitted party that was occurring in that area," said Chief Hall.

An estimated people were at the party that spilled out into the street and onto neighboring properties in the North Pass community of Montgomery.

"We are working closely with our federal and state partners including the FBI and the ATF," said Hall. "They have been assisting us since early on in this case."

Hall said that the MPD is not rushing to make arrests, "So we can bring the best possible charges against the persons involved in this case."

Large amounts of concentrated gun fire from semi-automatic rifles were used in this shootout.

"We did collect more than 350 different spent shell casings on the scene," said Hall.

Jennifer Conway is the resident agent in charge with the Montgomery office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

"We have resources that we can bring to the table that we will not be specific on that can help bring the persons responsible for this to justice," said Agent Conway. "I promise you if you are responsible for this then stand down because we are coming for those that did it."

Given the number of heavily armed persons firing such a large volume of ammunition into such a crowded environment, the casualties could have been much higher.

"This situation could have been a lot worse," said Reed.

Reed called for a ban of semi-automatic military style rifles.

"We are willing to work with our state and federal delegation," Reed said of implementing an assault weapons ban. He also suggested that the Montgomery City Council may consider its own ban on the weapons.

"We don't want to send them into a situation where they are outmanned and outgunned," Reed said of law enforcement having to deal with a heavily armed civilian populace.

The question of why the police had not already responded to the out-of-control street unpermitted street party in North Pass came up.

"We did have a homicide that occurred before that, we did have a robbery before that and we did have a shooting that happened before that," said Hall.

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