Search Continues For Rainsville Gunman; Investigators Review Video

RAINSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — DeKalb County investigators continue to search for a man they said shot two employees at Fred’s Store in Rainsville late Friday night.

Monday, Sheriff Jimmy Harris said investigators were reviewing videotape they obtained from Fred’s.  They were also checking with neighboring businesses to see if they had other video that may be useful.

If you have any information, call the Rainsville Police Department at (256) 638-2157 or the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office at (256) 845-3801.

The sheriff said both Josh Vance and Matthew Whitt, the two men who were shot, are improving but are still in serious condition at Huntsville Hospital.  Sheriff Harris spoke with them on Monday in the hospital to try to get more information about the shooter.

Numerous leads came in over the weekend.

“The public has been great about giving us information the last few days and we are checking into every lead,” said Sheriff Harris.  “We have investigators in three counties assisting and following up on these leads.”

Sheriff Jimmy Harris said the investigation spread into Jackson County and Dade County, Georgia.

“We followed up leads until about 4:30 this morning.  The Sheriff’s Office Task Force, Fort Payne Police, and Jackson County Sheriff’s been working with us.”

Harris said it appears this was a robbery attempt as the suspect approached the store just after closing time at 9 p.m.

“They locked the door and were walking away from the door when he shook the door and they turned around,” the sheriff said about the two victims.

“When they turned back around is when he fired the shot and then the other victim ran and then he shot him.”

Harris said both victims were shot in the back, and a third employee at the store was not hurt as the gunman ran away after firing his weapon.

“He didn’t enter even though the glass broke, he didn’t kick the glass on out and go in, because the door was bolted from the inside.”

Investigators retrieved some surveillance video Friday night, and loss prevention specialists for Fred’s came Saturday to assist in review of the tapes.

“They’re trying to enhance the video and give us a better picture of the suspect at this time,” Harris said.

“We watched videos to three or four o’clock this morning.  There’s nine or 10 different cameras, they’re trying to burn us a disc right now where we can sit down and watch it back for hours and hours.” he said.

“We think we’re going to have a pretty good description of the suspect when they get through with their work.”

Harris said details are limited at this time, but witnesses described the shooter as a white man between 5’8″ and 6′ tall.

Rainsville Police Chief Charles Centers said the man wore a dark hooded sweatshirt or ski mask, and witnesses told police they could tell the man had a beard.

“He left the parking lot on foot and got in a small red car,” Centers said.

“We don’t know but it was possibly a Honda Accord, that was witnessed by a couple of people in the parking lot.”

Sheriff Harris said his office received several calls Friday night from people who said they saw a car fitting that description.

“We’ve been to those residences, and we woke a bunch of people up last night,” he said.

Investigators advised residents in the area to lock their doors and be on the lookout for anyone who appears suspicious, as the man is considered armed and dangerous.

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