TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa Police Officers were in place and ready following Saturday’s A-Day game, and despite the officers’ presence, there were several arrests and six weapons found.
Tuscaloosa Police had stationed multiple officers on the University Strip to patrol anticipated crowds following the University of Alabama’s A-Day game. UAPD officers also patrolled the area and observed activity from an elevated police tower, while the Cyber Intel Unit monitored surveillance cameras from their offices.
This is the information from TPD:
Overcrowding prompted TPD Chief Brent Blankley to order people to leave the area, which was already closed to vehicle traffic as part of game day operations. Everyone on the street was required to either go inside a business or leave.
“We prepared for this event by assigning stationed and roving officers to different locations along the Strip and the bar areas downtown,” Blankley said. “I feel like the incidents that did occur could have been much worse if officers had not been so close and so quick to respond.”
Blankley was among the officers who were alerted of a group of young men with guns gathered in the parking lot of a closed restaurant just after 1 a.m. The officers responded to the 1400 block of University Boulevard after some people told an off-duty officer working at Waffle House about the men with weapons.
Officers saw a man holding a rifle before calling for backup and approaching the group. Officers detained the group and searched two parked vehicles, recovering marijuana from the center console and a loaded Glock with an extended magazine filled with 19 rounds of ammunition.
The gun had been reported stolen to the Birmingham Police Department. There were two teenage girls from Center Point in one car. They were questioned at headquarters and released to the custody of their parents. A 16-year-old from Hoover was charged with curfew violation and released to the custody of his mother with an agreement to appear in court.
Investigators said a search of the second car turned up a pistol-style AK-47 with a fully loaded magazine. Cortez Deon Gulley, 20, of Birmingham was charged with possession of a firearm without a permit and second-degree possession of marijuana.
Another incident was reported in the same parking lot just before 2 a.m. that resulted in three more handguns being recovered and two arrests for second-degree possession of marijuana and possession of ecstasy.
Earlier in the night, officers working on the Strip were informed of a possible robbery that had occurred in the 1200 block of University Boulevard, with suspects described as four men in a black sedan. Officers located a black Camry occupied by four men parked behind the bar area at 10:02 p.m. The men, all from Moundville, said they had just arrived and were sitting in the car before going out. Officers smelled marijuana, and searched the car, recovering a small amount of marijuana and an AR pistol. Brandon Lewis, 19, was charged with possession of a firearm without a permit and second-degree possession of marijuana. Two of the other occupants were charged with outstanding and unrelated charges. The officers did not locate any witnesses or find evidence to confirm the initial robbery report.
A total of 271 police calls for service occurred during the 24-hour period between midnight Saturday and midnight Sunday.