The man accused in a series of shootings along Interstate 85 in Alabama and Georgia appearing to shoot at random and was found with a cache of weapons and ammunition in his car.
Jerel Raphael Brown, 39, is charged in Lee County with shooting a 45-year-old man. He also faces charges in Troup County, Georgia, and Montgomery.
Auburn Deputy Police Chief Michael Harris said Thursday it appeared Brown, who has no criminal history in Alabama, was shooting from his vehicle at random. In a video news release, authorities showed at least a dozen firearms and more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition seized from Brown’s vehicle.
“No motive for these seemingly random shootings has been determined at this point,” Harris said.
“Due to the alarming amount of weapons recovered combined with the actions of the suspect, there is no doubt that the immediate collaborative efforts of the agencies involved ended an active danger to the public that spanned multiple communities and into several states,” he added. said Harris.
Auburn police responded at 6:15 a.m. Wednesday to I-85 northbound between mileposts 56 and 57 to a report of a vehicle stopped in the roadway. When officers arrived, they found the 45-year-old victim lying on the pavement with a gunshot wound to the head.
According to the police, the bullet entered through the rear of the vehicle.
The victim, from Prattville, was airlifted to Baptist South Medical Center in Montgomery where he is in critical condition. Police said a passing motorist helped the driver before first responders arrived.
“First and foremost, we want to say our thoughts and prayers are with the victim in this matter and we wish him a speedy recovery,” Harris said.
A second shooting occurred in Georgia an hour later.
A driver called 911 after his vehicle was hit by a gunshot on northbound I-85 near the 23-mile marker. The victim was not injured, according to Troup County Sheriff’s officials.
Harris said investigators learned shootings also occurred along I-85 in Montgomery about an hour earlier than the Auburn incident. Montgomery police officials said no one was injured.
A description of the suspect and his vehicle was broadcast throughout the Southeast, Harris said.
Early Wednesday afternoon, Brown was taken into custody when a Chambers County deputy spotted him near the courthouse. The deputy conducted a traffic stop and the suspect was taken into custody without further incident.
Brown is charged in Georgia with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony and first-degree criminal damage.
He is charged with attempted murder and shooting an occupied vehicle in Auburn. Charges against him are also expected from authorities in Montgomery.
Several agencies participated in the manhunt for Brown, including Auburn, Montgomery, Tuskegee, and Opelika police, Troup, Lee, and Chambers county deputies, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Alabama Fusion Center, the US Marshals. and the FBI.
Harris said investigators will continue to try to uncover a motive for the shooting.
Anyone with information that could help detectives in the case is asked to call 334-501-3140 or the 334-246-1391 tip line.