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Two year anniversary of CopperTop Bar Shooting - abc27 WHTM

Two year anniversary of CopperTop Bar Shooting

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TUSCALOOSA - AL -  

July 17 marks a disturbing day in Tuscaloosa's history.  The downtown nightlife was stunned when police say suspect Nathan Van Wilkins opened fire outside the CopperTop Bar.  They say he fired 11 round injuring 17 people.

Before Coppertop, authorities believe Wilkins shot up Bruce Bankhead's home in Northport.  Bankhead, who is known as 'Showtime' for his former tattoo parlor in Tuscaloosa was struck twice at close range.  "I lost my home, my family, everything," said Bankhead in an interview with ABC 33/40 on the second anniversary of the shooting.

Wilkins turned himself in to Jasper authorities after several hours on the run the same day.

Investigators believe Wilkins was looking for the same person he was targeting at both the Coppertop and Bankhead's home.  "He knew who he was looking for.  He came to my house.  He had a loaded weapon.  That is pre-meditated.  That's not insane."

Wilkins trial has been delayed several times for various reasons including Wilkins own request for a new judge and new lawyer.  Also, the prosecutor originally signed the case has since left the Tuscaloosa County District Attorneys office.  D.A. Lyn Head tells ABC 33/40 that a backlog in cases has also contributed to the delay.  "Serious cases that happened before it [coppertop shooting] and in addition it [the case] is complicated with issues that I can't discuss that probably have contributed." Head added.

In the meantime, Bankhead has scars that remind him of that tragic night.  One is on his left side where a bullet entered and his abdomen bears the open and closed wounds from the six surgeries he's had since the shooting.  Bankhead also walks on a cane, which is big change in his life.    Bankhead ran a popular tattoo parlor before the shooting called 'Showtime' which became a name for Bankhead.

Bankhead says because he lost everything, he now lives back and forth between family and sometimes in his car.  He says his disability has yet to be approved so the shooting robbed him of independence.

He says many non-profit agencies have vowed to help him rebound financially but won't act until Nathan Wilkins is declared guilty in a court of law.  That's Bankhead 's greatest pain right now.  "A man who may be behind on child support they'll put them in jail for a year or two, but a man who shot 18 people and ruined my life, you can't sentence him? That hurts."

If you would like to help Bruce Bankhead you reach him  Rick Kellie who organized a fundraiser for Bankhead at (256) 716-1666 or (256) 426-5658.

 

 

 

 

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