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TPD makes Friday shooting ‘top priority’

Managing Editor

July 10, 2000 10 PM

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage said solving a Friday night shooting in Troy is a "top priority" for his department.

"We are throwing everything we have at solving this case," Everage said Monday. "We plan on pursuing every lead and dedicating every available resource to seeing to it that the person or persons who committed this crime are brought to justice."

The crime occurred in the parking lot of a local motel, Everage said, as 35-year-old Russell Gorman, his wife, children and mother-in-law were checking into the motel at about 11:30 p.m.

Gorman, a businessman from Smiths, Ala. (also known as Smiths Station), has sufficiently recovered from a gunshot wound to the neck and chest area to be released from the intensive care unit of Edge Regional Medical Center.

According to Everage, the incident occurred as Gorman and his family were checking into the motel after attending a local softball game at the Troy Sportsplex where one of Gorman’s children was playing.

"Apparently, Mr. Gorman’s mother-in-law had her purse snatched by a man described simply as a black male," said Troy Police Department Public Information Officer Benny Scarbrough. "She yelled out as the man was fleeing with the purse."

Mr. Gorman was inside holding his infant childwhen he heard his mother-in-law’s cry, Scarbrough said.

"He apparently set the child down, responding to the cry," Scarbrough said. "As this occurred, the suspect discharged a pistol and the bullet struck Mr. Gorman in the neck area and traveled down into his chest."

According to Scarbrough, the suspect was seen leaving the area with three black males following the shooting. No other injuries resulted from the incident.

Troy Mayor Jimmy C. Lunsford has authorized a cash award in an undisclosed amount for information in the case and said he hopes the funds and the effort by the Troy Police Department will yield an arrest.

"This is a real tragedy," Everage said. "We have put this at the top of our priority list. We want to send a clear message that violence in this city cannot be tolerated. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gorman family and we are focusing all our investigative efforts on solving this crime."

Lunsford said the crime is the kind of thing that can tarnish the image of the community, but he is hopeful that a swift resolution in the case will help keep damage minimal.

"We feel terrible for the family, and we wouldn’t want to see anything like this happen anywhere, but we greatly regret that this happened here in Troy," Lunsford said. "We have stayed in close contact with the family and have sought to provide for their needs as best we can. But it is a tragedy that this happened here to a family that was in town for

Monday, Lunsford met with the family and got an update on Gorman’s progress.

"Mr. Gorman has recovered enough to be placed in a room," Lunsford said. "He sustained a terrible wound and there is no doubt in my mind, based on what I have seen and been told, that the quick response of Edge Regional Medical Center’s emergency staff and Dr. Richard Schloemer saved Mr. Gorman’s life. We are thankful that the incident occurred so near the hospital."

Lunsford said the Troy Police Department detective division is working diligently on the case.

"I have stayed in close contact with the department through this and they are working hard to resolve this," he said. "The detectives and other officers are working night and day."

Lunsford said the attack has reminded him of the need for caution.

"I would like to urge people to be careful," Lunsford said. "Things like this make you realize that an attack can happen anywhere. There are punks in every community – Troy included. I hope people will think about the things that can happen when they are in parking areas late at night. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to be cautious at all times."

Everage said the investigation is continuing and the department is following some strong leads.

"We have some pretty good leads we are working through," he said. "We would like to encourage anyone who knows anything to call a detective here and let us know any information they may have. There’s a cash reward involved."

The number for the department is 566-0500, and Everage said any detective can assist callers with information related to the Friday Gorman shooting.

"We also have a witness protection line for people who want to remain anonymous," Everage said. "People should feel free to call 566-5555. That is anonymous way to let us know information."