Armed man caught after wild spree

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

A Marengo County man went on a shooting spree Sunday night, firing bullets at a family, a man on a bike, a sheriff’s deputy, and inside the residence of another family.

According to Chief Deputy Tommie Reese, Michael James, 30, was apprehended Sunday night after a drawn-out gun battle and police chase. He has been charged with five counts of attempted murder.

Though Reese gave few details about the case, police dispatchers called law enforcement to the Old Springhill area on County Road 5 south of Demopolis in search of the shooter.

Email newsletter signup

The victims in the first shooting were Scottie Prisock, Brandy Singleton and a juvenile.

After that attack, James apparently moved on to another man who was riding a bike, firing an unknown number of shots at that victim.

Walter Miller was shot in that incident, and Reese said Miller escaped without serious injury.

As police were called to that area, Griggers said James then went into the Dayton area.

Tommy and Georgia Mullens were victims in that shooting, and like Miller, they escaped without serious injury.

Though numerous descriptions of the vehicle were given to law enforcement, sheriff’s deputies were eventually able to find the location of James.

Reese’s instincts proved true. James opened fire on Reese as the suspect drove past the deputy’s blockade.

The deputy’s shots hit James’ truck in the back window and forced the suspect off the road about 300 yards from the blockade.

Instead of surrendering to police, though, James jumped out of his car with a gun and his cell phone and ran into the woods, Griggers said.

Out of view from law enforcement, Griggers said deputies heard one more gunshot, though they weren’t sure where the shot was aimed.

Reese said the helicopter &045;&045; from Tuscaloosa &045;&045; was about 10 minutes away when James was arrested. A K-9 unit from Choctaw County proved to be the key unit that helped apprehend James without further incident.

The list of charges against James spans more than 20 pages. He has been charged with 5 counts of attempted murder, including the attempted murder of a law enforcement official. He also has been charged with shooting into an occupied vehicle, shooting into an occupied dwelling, assault-two on two separate counts, criminal mischief for damage done to a law enforcement vehicle, and possession of marijuana.

Bond, as of press time, had not been set for the litany of felonies and one misdemeanor charge.

James does have a prior arrest in Marengo County. According to the circuit clerk’s office, he was arrested in February 1992 for possession and sale of a controlled substance along with possession and receiving a controlled substance. James pleaded guilty to those charges and was sentenced to a five-year split sentence. He served six months of that sentence and was placed on probation for three years.

The circuit clerk’s office said there have been no other charges in Marengo County against James since 1992.

Sheriff Jesse Langley was out of the office before press time, but Reese asked that the Demopolis Police, Choctaw K-9 unit, the Tombigbee Ambulance EMS service, and Chris Hutto of the game warden’s office receive praise for their work in the case.

Working the incident for the Sheriff’s Department were Randy Sanders, Lee Lawrence Ricky Hall, Wayne Leonard, Johnny Garner and Keith Jordan, along with Myers, Lewis and Reese.