Community heartbroken over deadly shootings in Hamilton
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A small memorial sits outside Linda Cole's tax office.
Investigators said Tuesday morning she and Donny Miller were gunned down just blocks from each other in Hamilton.
"I would say the entire community is just stunned," Jack Bostick, the local district attorney, said.
Investigators said Jimmy Cooper first opened fire at Scott Hunt's Law office, killing Miller, then walked to Lawler and Cole's tax office and shot and killed Cole. Authorities said he was eventually shot by law enforcement and a private citizen.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said Cooper is under armed guard at UAB with non-life threatening injuries.
There is no word yet on a motive. The district attorney said Cooper was a business partner of one of the victims and had been a client of the other.
"I think it's just as shock to everybody. We don't stuff like that happening here," Doris Peterson, who works nearby, said.
Peterson works next door to the law office at Hamilton's flower shop. She said she was at that office earlier in the day and is thankful she wasn't there at the time of the shooting.
"I don't even like to think about that," Peterson added.
Sheriff Kevin Williams said last summer, a family member signed an order for Jimmy Cooper to be committed to a mental health facility. He was given a mental evaluation and later released, Williams said.
After the shootings, the sheriff said state leaders need to do a lot more to address what he called the problem with mental patients and guns.
"Our county jails are being flooded with mental patients that we really can't take care of and aren't trained for it. The state of Alabama needs to step up in my opinion and fund that department more or we're going to have more people like this that should be not really behind bars but should be in a mental institution," Williams said.
ALEA has seen nearby surveillance video from the confrontation between Cooper and local police and say Cooper had full intentions of killing law enforcement after he shot Miller and Cole.
At a press conference earlier in the day, the district attorney said he plans on filing murder charges against Cooper and could seek the death penalty.
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