September 26, 2023

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A person who died in a triple shooting at an Attalla towing business on Thursday afternoon has been identified.

Steven McElrath, 22, of Fort Payne, lost his life during the shooting at Hammet Towing, according to Etowah County Coroner London Pearce. Law enforcement officials have neither disclosed McElrath’s suspected role in the shooting nor corroborated any witness accounts.

Donnie Hammett Sr., who owns the company, tells ABC 33/40 he was standing inside his office when an argument began between two men, one of whom has since been identified as McElrath, and his son, Donnie Hammett Jr.

Hammett Sr. says McElrath pulled out a pistol and shot his son in the head. Hammet Sr. says before McElrath could fire again, he fired a round from his shotgun and killed him. Then he turned his attention to the other man and shot him three times.

“You don’t just go around shooting people. That’s terrifying because I don’t want my kids in any sort of situation like that. You wouldn’t think something like a shooting like that would be so close to home, especially here in Attalla,” says mother Crystal LeCroy, who lives less than a half-mile away from Hammett Towing.

The owner of nearby restaurant Hector’s Kitchen, tells ABC 33/40 the gun violence scared away customers.

“After 5’o’clock or 6’o’clock after a shooting people are afraid to buy. Those days when the deals come up people don’t show up. People are afraid to come here. It definitely affected the business,” Hector Contreras says.

Hammett Sr. said despite the bullet holes in his son’s head, he is alive and expected to recover at UAB Hospital.


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