Sheriff: Suspect in Hamilton double homicide had been evaluated for mental illness

HAMILTON, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE: Authorities have identified Linda Cole and Donnie Miller as the victims. Jimmy Cooper is to be charged with capital murder.

Cooper is at UAB being treated for gunshot wounds, according to District Attorney Jack Bostick. His injuries are reportedly not life threatening.

According Bostick, they have not yet talked with the victim’s family about pursuing the death penalty, but he said it was his inclination to say they would be pursuing it.

According to ALEA’s Spencer Collier, the SBI will be investigating the officer-involved portion of the incident. He said two sheriff’s deputies were involved, as well as a municipal officer.

Collier said both the police department and sheriff’s office will be investigating the double homicide.

According to Sheriff Kevin Williams, last July a commitment order was signed for Cooper by a family member. He said the Sheriff’s Office transported him; he was evaluated and released.

“We have a problem with mental patients with guns,” he said.

Williams also commented that his deputies that were involved are “struggling.”

Williams said they had officers at the courthouse because it was court day. He said by the time they got there, the suspect was running down the street.

He says both victims are longtime Hamilton residents.

Bostick said there is no information on a motive yet. He did say Cooper was a business partner of one victim and a client of the other.

Alabama Senior Trooper Johnathan Appling sent out the following release, confirming the involvement of a citizen in the capture of the suspect:

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA)’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), today, Feb. 10, responded to the scene of an active shooter and subsequent double homicide in Marion County. The homicides occurred in separate locations in downtown Hamilton. 

The initial investigation reveals Marion County Sheriff Deputies and a Hamilton Police Officer engaged the active shooter at a third location, the First State Bank. Additionally, a private citizen reacted and assisted law enforcement in the exchange of gunfire with the suspect.  Whereupon, the suspect Jimmy Cooper, 57, of Hamilton, was struck by gunfire and was taken into custody. SBI will investigate the officer involved shooting involving Cooper.

The Hamilton Police Department will lead the double homicide investigation where Donny Miller, 67, and Linda Cole, 61, both of Hamilton, were killed. 

“Although, we will conduct a thorough investigation of the officer involved shooting, the initial indication is that the deputies, officer and private citizen acted without hesitation and probably prevented the further loss of life,” said Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier.

Cooper is recovering, suffering from non-life threatening wounds at UAB under guard by ALEA. 

Watch the full press conference below:

PHOTOS: Hamilton double homicide

UPDATE: Two have been confirmed dead after shootings in Hamilton.

One person was killed at Lawler & Cole, a tax prep office, the other at an attorney’s office.

The suspect is in police custody after another man who was in the tax prep office says he shot the suspect in the knee and elbow.

The man said he was in the tax prep office when the suspect shot a woman in the head. He told CBS42’s Stephon Dingle he didn’t know the suspect killed another person at the law office before coming to the tax prep office.

He told Dingle when he chased the suspect, he was given the gun of another man who was loading his to chase after the suspect.

The man said he’s known the suspect all his life; he says the suspect is around 55 years old.

Another man told Dingle his wife was in the office across from where the woman was shot in the tax prep office. He says she is shaken up and currently with police giving a statement.

ORIGINAL: Marion County Sheriff’s Office confirms they are investigating a shooting at a Hamilton attorney’s office. The Marion County Courthouse is in lockdown while police investigate the shooting at the nearby law firm.

We have a crew on the scene. We’ll bring you the latest information as soon as possible.

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