Man accused of aiming rifle at Tuscaloosa police charged with two crimes

·2 min read
Tuscaloosa police gather at the scene of a Wednesday morning shooting at Bent Tree apartments that left a 29-year-old man with life-threatening injuries. [Photo by the Tuscaloosa Police Department]
Tuscaloosa police gather at the scene of a Wednesday morning shooting at Bent Tree apartments that left a 29-year-old man with life-threatening injuries. [Photo by the Tuscaloosa Police Department]

A 29-year-old man who was shot by Tuscaloosa police on Nov. 17 has been charged with two crimes, according to Capt. Jack Kennedy with Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit.

William Baxter Gilstrap is charged with discharging a firearm into an unoccupied building and attempting to to elude, Kennedy said.

Gilstrap was shot by Tuscaloosa police after officers said he aimed an AR-15 rifle directly at them at Bent Tree Apartments, 900 Hargrove Road.

Kennedy said events leading up to the shooting at Bent Tree Apartments began around 2 a.m. Nov. 17 when the Tuscaloosa Police Department received calls about an unruly patron at Harry's Bar on Hargrove Road.

As officers approached the bar, the patron was leaving in a car, and, according to officers, he was driving recklessly. Officers then attempted a traffic stop, but the patron refused to stop and led officers to Bent Tree Apartments, Kennedy said.

Officers formed a perimeter around one of the apartments and said they heard two separate gunshots from inside the apartment. When the man opened the door, he pointed a rifle directly at an officer, according to Kennedy, and four officers opened fire, striking Gilstrap several times.

Residents were evacuated from the apartment building to ensure everyone's safety once a threat was detected, Kennedy said.

After the shooting, Gilstrap was taken to DCH Regional Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, but he is expected to make a full recovery. No officers were injured during the shooting, Kennedy said.

Eight officers have been placed on leave after the shooting. Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley said the decision to place the officers on leave is standard procedure anytime there is an officer-involved shooting.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information has been released.

The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit has assumed control of the investigation of the shooting with investigators and supervisors who are not affiliated with TPD.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Man accused of aiming rifle at Tuscaloosa police faces charges

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