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Spanish Fort police thwart possible mass shooter

Police cars at night. Police car chasing a car at night with fog background. 911 Emergency response police car speeding to scene of crime. Selective focus

The Spanish Fort Police arrested 38-year-old Robert Smith of Grove Hill Saturday after he attacked the Bass Pro Shop there.

“It certainly appears that his intent yesterday was to commit a mass shooting,” Spanish Fort Police Chief John Barber told reporters.

According to early reports, Bass Pro Shop employees spotted the heavily armed man wearing body armor. The employees quickly locked the service entrance doors and began moving customers and other employees to the opposite end of the building.

Mr. Smith reportedly then discharged dozens of rounds into the building using one of his three AR 15’s, a 9 mm pistol, and a 12 gauge shotgun.

The Spanish Fort Police rushed to the scene and found Smith attempting to move to the main entrance of the store. The officers successfully deployed tasers and were able to take Smith into custody alive. During the arrest, one of the Spanish Fort officers received injuries that required treatment at a local hospital.

Barber praised the courage of the responding Spanish Fort Officers.

“The exemplary actions of these Officers are truly represented by their bravery and dedication to the citizens of Spanish Fort,” Barber said. “By remaining focused and implementing recalled training, a potentially life threatening situation was averted using with the minimal amount of force possible. I could not be more proud of the responding officers that ran to gunfire to save lives.”

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Only a few of the dozens of bullets fired penetrated the walls of the building. A woman who was arrested at the scene as a possible accomplice has been released.

Smith’s home in Grove Hill was searched by authorities on Sunday. Smith has been charged with assault, shooting into an occupied building, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. More charges could still be filed.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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