Mobile, Ala. (WALA/GRAY NEWS) – There is a heavy police presence in front of the Mobile Government Plaza in downtown Mobile as a result of the shooting and standoff.
Mobile Government Plaza houses the city and county courts and city and county governments.
Police received a report just after 10 a.m. that a man in a gray Honda had been shot inside a car in front of the plaza, Walla reported.
When emergency responders arrived to help, a man inside the car held a gun to his own head and threatened to shoot himself, according to Mobile police Cpl. Katrina Frazier.
Police SWAT units and negotiators then responded, Frazier said.
Police said it was unclear whether the man shot himself or someone else. Police said the situation was under control but advised citizens to stay away from the area.
Authorities were seen using a loudspeaker to communicate with the man inside the vehicle.
James Barber, chief of staff for the Mobile mayor’s office, said just after 12:30 p.m., mental health professionals in a nearby armored vehicle were able to communicate with the gunman. He described the man as “mostly uncooperative” until the morning.
Barber said first responding officers noticed the man’s blood inside the car and when he produced a gun, they backed off.
Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine said at 12:45 p.m. that authorities identified the man inside the car and confirmed he was injured. They have given him a phone for communication.
Police turn people away from Government Plaza. Several law enforcement vehicles, including tactical units, blocked Government Street traffic. The Bankhead Tunnel is closed.
The front gate of Government Plaza near the scene has been closed. People were leaving the building from other exits.
Operations inside the building were disrupted and elevators at the front of the glass-encased structure were shut down, people inside said.
This is not the first time that the building has been damaged. In 1996, a gunman and a security guard were killed in a shootout in the building’s court lobby.
The Associated Press reported that the gunman in the 1996 incident set off a metal detector and opened fire.
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