Family, friends grieve loss of Tuscaloosa man killed in murder-suicide

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit is investigating a murder-suicide that happened Monday night at 11:30 during a shift change at Dixie Pulp and Paper.  

Police say the shooting was witnessed and also captured on video. TPD Captain Jack Kennedy says 27-year-old Demorius Polke shot the victim, 33-year-old Sean Barrett, multiple times and then turned the gun on himself.

“Both subjects were employees of the plant and this was after shift change and they were in the parking lot preparing to leave when the shooting occurred,” Kennedy said.

Cody Williams was Barrett’s best friend for fifteen years. He and other family members are devastated by the tragic loss.

“It’s terrible and one of the worst things I’ve ever been through in all my life. I am still in shock and I don’t know if I can process it yet it’s been so much trying to help everybody and get things settled. I really can’t describe it,” Williams said.

Police are not sure why Polke had a gun in the parking lot and shot the victim.  Kennedy says TPD is trying to find a motive.

“It’s incredibly tragic and our thoughts are with the victim’s family as well as the other family they have lost a loved one from this too and this is incredibly a tragic situation,” Kennedy said.

Williams spent Tuesday afternoon visiting with the victim’s wife and other family members. He says his friend was an amazing person that will be missed.

“He was the life of the party when he showed up, everybody was smiling when he shows up he had a smile on always and it projected on everyone else. He would have done anything in the world for anybody. He loved his son and he loved his wife and it’s going to rough without him,” he said.

Authorities tell CBS 42 this is an active ongoing case and anyone who has information should contact the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

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