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Alabama Bar Shooting: Nathan Van Wilkins, alleged shooter, had troubled past, report says

This booking photograph released by the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Department shows Nathan Van Wilkins, 44, who was charged in an early morning shooting that left 17 people injured in a bar in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. Police said Wilkins was charged initially with one count of attempted murder, but other charges will be filed. AP Photo/Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Department

Nathan Van Wilkins, above, is accused of attempted murder in the shooting at a Tuscaloosa, Ala. bar in the early morning on Tuesday, July 17, 2012
WIAT

(CBS/AP) TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Nathan Van Wilkins reportedly had a troubled past before he allegedly opened fire at an Alabama bar Tuesday and injured over a dozen people.

The suspected gunman declared bankruptcy last year for the third time since 1991, and he was facing a hearing in a couple weeks, according to court records. The move prevented a credit union from garnishing his wages at his then-employer, Capstone Oilfield Services, to collect a $15,000 debt. In 2005, his wife of 16 years divorced him.

Wilkins is accused of opening fire with an assault rifle at the Copper Top bar near the University of Alabama campus. Police were not sure of a motive. They said the 44-year-old stood outside the crowded bar and opened fire from two different positions early Tuesday, injuring 17 people.

Most of the injured were hit by bullet fragments or debris, and they were treated and released, said DCH Regional Medical Center spokesman Brad Fisher. Two people were in intensive care, including one in critical condition. At least three of the injured were university students.

About 10 hours after the shooting attack, Wilkins walked into a FedEx store where he turned himself in to police. He also talked about being high on drugs during the shootings, the store's co-owner said.

Wilkins is also charged for an earlier attack that happened 45 minutes before the shooting a couple miles away from the bar, police said. Wilkins knocked on the door to a home and waited for a person to answer it, and then he started firing and wounding the person. This attack is included in the 18 counts of attempted murder Wilkins is facing, and he is being held on $2 million bond.

Wilkins was also suspected of setting three fires to equipment or property owned by his former employer, an oil and gas company. At about 3 a.m., volunteer fire chief Billy Garner said he received a call about fires at two different Capstone Oilfield locations in Brookwood, which is on the way from Tuscaloosa to Jasper where he surrendered to police.

One of the fires damaged a Capstone building and two adjacent buildings. The other was set at a yard where Capstone vehicles and equipment were kept, Garner said. A Capstone vehicle was also set on fire in Northport, he said.

Wilkins' wife Amy filed for divorce in July 2004, according to Tuscaloosa County court records. She claimed she was beaten and that Wilkins threatened to kill her and sexually assaulted her. They had two children, and a judge ordered him to pay $1,300 a month in child support in the divorce decree in March 2005.

More on Crimesider
July 17, 2012 - Alabama Bar Shooting: Gunman opens fire in Tuscaloosa, 17 people hurt
July 17, 2012 - Alabama Bar Shooting: Suspected gunman taken into custody, police say
July 17, 2012 - Nathan Van Wilkins, 44, ID'd by police as shooter in Tuscaloosa, Ala. bar attack

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