Post-Hamilton Shooting: Mental health & guns

Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Saturday, funeral services were held for Linda Cole, one of the two victims killed in Wednesday’s double homicide in Hamilton.

Since then, some have called for more to be done about mental health and guns.

“The state of Alabama needs to step up, in my opinion, and fund that department more, or we’re going to have more people like this,” said Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams in a press conference immediately following the deadly shooting.

The sheriff was referencing more people like Jimmy Cooper, who at one time, was committed for a mental evaluation some time in 2015.

He allegedly shot and killed two people, Donnie Miller and Linda Cole, whose daughter April Cagle, said she agrees with the sheriff.

“Kevin Williams is not just the sheriff here, he’s a friend, he’s an honest sheriff, he wants to do what’s right,” Cagle said in an exclusive interview with CBS42 Thursday.

State representative Gerald Allen (R-AL 21st District) spoke at an annual conference in Bessemer Saturday for gun rights group ‘Bama Carry.’ In his speech, he advocated for pushing bill SB-14, which would allow people to carry a loaded pistol in their vehicle without a permit.

In light of his push, we asked him his thoughts about the Hamilton shooting and the call for more to be done about mental health patients and guns.

“You know, it’s unfortunate, it really is, and you know one of the things we must keep in mind is that we must be prepared and sometimes, that’s not good enough,” Rep. Allen said.

But that’s the exact point Sheriff Williams made on Wednesday.

“Our problem in the state of Alabama is that we have no where to put him, our county jails are being flooded with mental health patients, that we legally cant really take care of, we’re not trained fully,” Sheriff Williams said.

There-in lies the problem, there’s not enough state money to fund what may be one of Alabama’s biggest problems.

“I’ve been in discussion with the mental health commissioner and they’re looking at new ways and different programs and certainly that should be a priority of ours in the legislature,” said Rep. Allen.

To clarify, neither the sheriff, or the victim’s daughters said they are against guns, more so whose hands they end up in. The suspect, Jimmy Cooper was said to be taken down by a civilian who legally used a firearm.

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