Spanish Fort AL Sept 7 2020
Spanish Fort Police Chief John Barber identified the suspect in the Bass Pro shooting as 38-year-old Robert Smith a black male from the Grove Hill area.
Barber says Smith is being treated for a medical condition at present not related to his arrest.
He says the second person taken into custody Saturday, a woman, has been released and there are no charges pending for that person at this time.
“It does not appear she was assisting him, it appears the actions she was taking trying to prevent him from continuing on from what he was doing,” said Barber.
The chief said Smith came armed with hundreds of rounds of ammo, several different firearms and was wearing body armor.
“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,” said Barber describing the weapons they say Smith came with.
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. Barber said not a single shot was fired by and officer, they subdued the suspect with a Taser.
They’re still trying to determine what motivated the shooting. The chief says the two were passing through from Florida but it’s not clear why Smith stopped at the outdoor mega-retailer. At this point Barber says they’re certain, based on the suspect’s actions and tools, they averted what could have been a tragic mass shooting.
“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.
Today they’re carrying out a warrant at the suspect’s home in Clarke County. They’re still working on charges but Smith likely faces 2nd-degree assault for injuring an officer, reckless endangerment, and resisting arrest according to 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,” said the chief.