Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Collinsville, Alabama

From the Ft. Payne Times-Journal of December 27, 2005
Brother Kills Brother

Authorities say it’s unlikely charges will be filed in relation to an early-morning shootout Friday that left a Collinsville man dead and his brother and sister-in-law injured.

DeKalb County District Attorney Mike O’Dell will review the incident.

DeKalb County Sheriff Cecil Reed said it appears Gary Kenneth Craig was shot and killed in self-defense. The man responsible for killing him is his brother, James Earl Craig, 61, Reed said.

Both James Earl Craig and his wife, Shelia Diane Craig, 52, were taken to DeKalb-Baptist Medical Center on Friday. She was treated and released, while her husband was admitted for surgery. He remains in the hospital. Both are expected to recover.

DeKalb County Chief Deputy Mike James said the Craig brothers lived next door to one another on DeKalb County Road 1942 in Collinsville. James said witnesses reported that Gary Craig had been drinking throughout the night Thursday and into the early hours of Friday morning. James said Gary Craig came next door to his brothers to get help starting his truck. He said the brothers attempted to start the truck but were unable to do so. The brothers went back inside, at which point Gary Craig apparently began cursing at and insulting his sister-in-law, at which point his brother asked him to leave.

At that point, around 6:40 a.m. on Friday, James said Gary Craig returned to his truck, got a Ruger .22 rifle, walked toward the front door of his brother’s trailer and began firing. James said Gary fired at least two shots through the front door, striking and wounding both his brother and sister-in-law.

As Gary stepped onto the porch, his brother armed himself with his own .22 rifle and, as Gary attempted to enter the trailer, the shootout began in earnest. Mike James said, “many shots were fired.”

Once the dust settled, Gary Kenneth Craig, having been shot at least twice, lay dead on the porch, according to sheriff’s investigator Rhonda Jackson.

She said Shelia Craig was shot twice, once in the arm and once in the chest, and James Craig was shot five times. Despite being injured, the couple managed to drive to the Collinsville Police Department to report the shooting, because they did not have a phone they could use to call for help.

Reed said Gary Craig’s body has been sent to the Department of Forensic Science for an autopsy. He said the sheriff’s department is handling the matter as a “death investigation” and said it’s “very unlikely” any charges would be brought against James Earl Craig.

“It looks like a clear cut case of self-defense,” Reed said.

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