CULLMAN, Ala. – An exchange of gunfire outside the Cullman Applebee’s restaurant at 2106 Cherokee Ave. SW Saturday night shortly before 10 p.m. left a vehicle damaged, but no injuries were reported.
Cullman Police Sgt. Adam Walker, on the scene that evening and according to initial witness statements, said an unidentified person fired first, and a customer leaving the establishment returned fire before the suspect fled the scene.
After further investigation, Detective Chuck Shikle on Monday told The Tribune, “It seems to have occurred between two groups of people. Now these are the reports. We’ve been unable to verify exactly what went down, but we do know that multiple shots were fired from two different individuals. We believe they were shooting at each other. We don’t know who instigated the altercation.”
Shikle said the CPD is still investigating.
“At least one shot was fired from the Applebee’s parking lot towards Cherokee Avenue. There were some shots- we don’t know if it was return fire or it initiated the gunfire- but we do know that shots were fired from Applebee’s parking lot towards Cherokee or possibly in the air. We know that the shot was fired because we recovered the bullet casing. We know that shots were fired from a vehicle in the turning lane of Cherokee Avenue, that was southbound on Cherokee. He had turned and fired shots back toward somebody in the Applebee’s parking lot, and in the process damaged the property there.”
The parties were not familiar with one another, Shikle said. The person who shot from Cherokee Avenue has been identified and interviewed by police. The person who shot from the Applebee’s parking lot has not been identified.
“It’s absolutely- there’s nothing positive, there’s nothing positive that will come from this incident,” he said. “We’re very fortunate. We’re very fortunate. The person that claims he was returning fire claims that he was doing so in self-defense. That’s not the proper way to defend yourself. He’s very fortunate that no one was in that (damaged) vehicle (in the parking lot) and an innocent bystander wasn’t harmed as a result of those actions.”
Shikle said, according to witnesses, the incident arose after one group of people approached the other in the parking lot.
“One separate group approached the other group in an aggressive manner,” he said. “At some point he said, ‘Hey, what’s your problem?’ The guy’s like, ‘You need to leave. I’ve got a gun.’ His buddy heard that he had a gun and said, ‘Well, I’ve got a gun, too,’ and shots were exchanged. Who initiated it? We don’t know. All we know is that in the process of doing so, during this exchange of gunfire, between people that are extremely young and immature, property was damaged, and fortunately, no one was injured.”
Walker said the owner of the damaged car had no connection to the incident or either of the parties involved.
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