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1 killed, 8 wounded at graduation party

On Saturday, May 18, at approximately 2 a.m., the Atmore Police Department received a 911 call in response to shots being fired at 100 Martin Luther King Drive, Atmore. The location on Martin Luther King Drive is formerly the Escambia County Middle School but now serves as a community center.

Atmore police arrived on scene and immediately heard gun shots going off around the property. Officers began assisting the gunshot victims as well as restoring order. After accessing the scene, officers found a male gunshot victim deceased in the cafeteria of the building.

Preliminary reports indicate a graduation party was being held in the cafeteria. Witnesses stated a fight broke out between two females. While others were trying to separate the females, numerous gunshots were fired inside the building, hitting several individuals.

The unknown suspects fled the parking lot where several gunshots were fired, striking more victims. Eight people were injured due to the gunfire and were transported to Amore Community Hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Atmore police investigators have ruled this case a homicide and continue to process and collect evidence from the scene.

Saturday morning, Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks was interviewed by Channel 5 News. He stated the announcement of the party had been posted on social media and that between 300 and 500 people from “several counties” were in the cafeteria.

One of the wounded was transferred from ACH by LifeFlight to Sacred Heart in Pensacola. Brooks said the victim’s condition was stable but serious.

The old school is owned by the Escambia County Board of Education, and is leased to a local woman. She gave permission for the party to be held in the cafeteria but not for alcohol to be served. Brooks said in his television interview that a large amount of alcohol was present.

Shortly after daylight Saturday morning, though the fog was thick, police were combing the area around the school, searching for evidence.

APD encourages anyone with information about this case to contact the department at 251-368-9141.

News photos by Ditto Gorme