Attempted murder arrest in Dec. Hwy. 157 Verizon Store shootout in Cullman

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James E. Harrison, III (Cullman Police Department)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Two brothers involved in a shootout that saw 21 shots fired in the parking lot of the Verizon Store on Alabama Highway 157 in Cullman have been apprehended. The older brother, James E. Harrison, III, 17, of Birmingham has been charged as an adult with attempted murder. He is being held at the Cullman County Detention Center.

Both brothers are also charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and carrying a pistol without a permit.

The younger brother, 16, has not been named. He is being held at a juvenile detention center in Tennessee.

Cullman Police Department Captain of Investigation J.P. White said a disagreement between the two brothers led to the shootout around 9 p.m. Monday night, Dec. 2, 2019.

“They had a disagreement and both of them produced a weapon and started shooting,” said White. “There were other witnesses who have been interviewed. We knew who the people were that were involved within 30 minutes because of some witnesses and people with them.”

Harrison was shot in the foot and transported by private vehicle to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham. The younger brother fled the scene. Harrison later left the hospital before his mother arrived to pick him up.

White said at the time that the two brothers were known to authorities.

“The next day, according to him (Harrison), they fled and went to New York,” said Sgt. Adam Clark. “They abandoned their car up there, stole another vehicle in New York and drove to Ohio and broke into a gun store and were captured by Ohio officers. He’s (Harrison) been in a juvenile detention facility up in Lake County, Ohio since Dec. 15.”

The CPD worked with the Cullman County District Attorney’s Office to obtain warrants.

The younger brother, who managed to flee on foot from the gun store in Ohio and make it back to Alabama, was arrested Jan. 7 at the Rack and Cue pool hall on U.S. Highway 31 in Cullman.

Harrison was picked up in Ohio Monday, Jan. 13.

Clark said he and Sgt. Chris Thomason traveled to Ohio to pick up Harrison and bring him back to Cullman.

As to why Harrison is facing an attempted murder charge, while his brother is not, Clark said, “We were able to obtain video, actually from the Panda Express drive-through camera, that showed the entire incident. After watching the video, we were able to show that he (Harrison) purposely shot at him (his younger brother).”

Clark said Harrison said he wasn’t trying to kill his brother and that he didn’t even remember the incident.

“According to the video,” said Clark, “it sure looked like he was trying to kill him.”

The younger brother returned fire and struck Harrison in the foot.

Also hit in the shootout were the Verizon building, a vehicle and a transformer box.

“They could have killed somebody just out driving on 157,” said White.

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Wendy Sack

wendy@cullmantribune.com