Security tightens after shooting at Cobb theater

William Evans

 

Discord between two teenage groups arguing in the parking lot of Cobb Hollywood 16 movie theater erupted into gunfire Saturday night, Aug. 13.

An off-duty Tuscaloosa County deputy working security for the movie theater noticed two groups of teenage males arguing near the entrance of the theater when he decided to disperse them, according to a prepared statement from Captain Loyd Baker with the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit.

Shortly afterwards, the deputy observed the two groups gathering in the parking lot. Upon approaching them, he heard shots fired and called for backup.

One of about ten bullets grazed the head of Levante Jones, 18, who then ran into the theater for help.

The Tuscaloosa Police Department has arrested Arthur Edward Bryant, Jr., 17, for allegedly shooting Jones. Bryant is charged with attempted murder and is being held in the Tuscaloosa County Jail on a $40,000 bond.

Jones was not associated with either of the feuding teenage groups, according to the Tuscaloosa police.

Tuscaloosa police suspect one of the groups present during the shooting on Saturday to be responsible for another shooting the following night in Valley Hill Apartments, off Snows Mill Road in Northport, where a group of males fired rounds out of their vehicle’s window.

“Violence typically begets more violence,” Baker said. “It started as an altercation, resulted in a shooting and continued into the next night as shots were fired in Valley Hill.”

Baker said there were no victims in the shooting at Valley Hill.

Jeremy Wilson, chief operating officer of Cobb Hollywood 16, released a statement saying security has been doubled at the movie theater following the shooting.

“Cobb theaters remain committed to all of our Tuscaloosa County patrons and employees, and will continue to provide a safe and secure environment to our guests at our family-friendly theater,” he said.

Tim Robinson, president of Against All Odds, a group that steers ex-felons and at-risk teenagers away from criminal behavior, said the community must take a more energetic role in mentoring its youth.

“The best thing to do is to set the example for them,” Robinson said. “More people are going to have to step up.”

He said city leaders should direct more attention to the black community in Tuscaloosa to help prevent interracial violence, such as the shooting that occurred at Cobb Theaters.

“If we can get more assistance from the city, then we could help the problem,” Robinson said.

The investigation of the shooting at Cobb Theaters is ongoing, as police are determining whether any additional teenagers fired shots outside the theater.