Shooting suspects remain at large

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Arrests are forthcoming in two separate shootings in the Atmore and Freemanville communities that left four people injured.

Chief Deputy Mike Lambert with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday the first shooting was discovered when deputies responded to the Atmore Community Hospital on Sat., Nov. 28, just before 6 p.m.

Lambert said the victim, identified as 27-year-old Derek James Staples, said the shooting occurred at his home on Martinville Loop.

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“(Staples) was in serious-to-critical condition when deputies arrived; however, they were able to get a brief rundown of what he said happened,” Lambert said. “(Stamples) said he was in the bathtub of his residence when three to four black males entered the residence in what I call a home invasion type of thing,” Lambert said.

Lambert said the suspects took Staples’s wallet and a large sum of money.

“Before (the suspects) left, a shot was fired and struck (Staples) in the mid section,” he said.

Lambert said Staples made his way to his cousin’s home nearby and was transported to the hospital.

Staples has identified the suspected shooter; however, no charges have been filed, Lambert said. Staples was air lifted to the University of South Alabama Medical Center where he was listed in serious, but stable, condition.

On Sunday, deputies were again called to the Atmore emergency room, this time responding to an incident that left three people shot, Lambert said.

The second shooting occurred on Sunday just after 2 a.m. in the parking lot of Junior Thames’ Place, a former bar on Freemanville Drive, which now operates as a “hangout spot,” Lambert said.

“We got the call to come to the Atmore emergency room in reference to three people shot,” Lambert said. “When deputies arrived on scene, the people had multiple gun shot wounds. Some of them were non-life threatening, but some were considered listed in serious condition.”

Lambert said the victims in the case couldn’t identify those responsible or the motive behind the shooting.

“They said they were standing in the parking lot, and all of a sudden, they began to hear shots fired and were struck with bullets,” Lambert said.

Lambert said patrons fled the scene and the gunshot victims were transported to the hospital by personal vehicles.

Injured were:

• Kenneth Lavon Black, 44, of 1715 Freemanville Drive;

• Charles Franklin Jones Jr., 28, of 158 King Street in Atmore; and,

• Willis Williams, 28, of 300 Evverette Street in Atmore.

Lambert said all three victims were transported to USA for further treatment after being treated at ACH.

Lambert said suspects have been identified; however, no arrests have been made.

Those with any information in regard to the Freemanville Community shooting are urged to call the sheriff’s office at 251.867.0304.