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Reward Offered in Rainsville Shooting

FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) — The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office is offering $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the man wanted for shooting two people in Rainsville.

Sheriff Jimmy Harris said the reward money is from a donor who wants to be anonymous.

“It is a friend of mine, a supporter of this sheriff’s office, a good person in DeKalb County, a good person in the community,” Harris said.

“I don’t think he even knows either one of these men, but he wants to do anything he can to get somebody to talk where we can make this arrest.”

Police officers and sheriff’s deputies in several northeast Alabama counties are looking for a man who went to Fred’s in Rainsville just after closing time August 24, and shot two employees through the locked front door.

Bullets struck 24-year-old Josh Nance and 39-year-old Matthew Whitt in their spines.

Nance has use of his arms but is paralyzed from the chest down, and Whitt is unable to move one of his legs.

Harris said investigators interrogated about 16 persons of interest, including one Sunday and another Tuesday.

“Somebody knows something and we’re ready to make an arrest; to close this case out,” Harris said.

He said leads have started to slow down but he hopes the reward will boost things.

“When it comes to money, people will sell out their grandmother out for money, so we just hope we get the information we need,” he said.

The sheriff said waiting to reveal information doesn’t make a person a suspect or an accessory to the crime.

“We’re not going to punish them for holding it back,” he said.

“Some people are reluctant to say anything or get involved but then sometimes when you throw money out there at them, they’re all maybe i can come forward and say something.”

Harris said he talked to parents of the victims Wednesday morning, who told him the boys continue to do well under the circumstances.

“They’re both still in good spirits and they’re making some small improvements, and they’re going to let them know about the reward,” Harris said.

“The family members are thankful and wanted me to talk to the person that came forward with the money and let them know how much they appreciate it.”

District attorney Mike O’Dell submitted a written request last week for reward money from Governor Robert Bentley, and the governor’s office told WHNT News 19 they are reviewing the request and circumstances surrounding the shooting.

According to Alabama Code § 15-9-3:

   Whenever a felony has been committed and the perpetrator thereof is unknown or when,
   being known, he absconds before being arrested or escapes from custody, either
   before or after conviction, the Governor is authorized, in his discretion, to offer by
   proclamation a reward not exceeding $5,000.00 for the apprehension or rearrest of such
   person within five years from the date of such proclamation, and to draw his warrant on
   the State Treasurer for the amount of such reward, when necessary to be paid.

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