By Carol Robinson
BIRMINGHAM — The amount of reward money continues to climb for information in the shooting of two Birmingham firefighters, one of whom died earlier this week.
The U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Thursday announced a $15,000 reward for information leading to the identity and capture of the suspect.
Gov. Kay Ivey earlier this week announced a $10,000 reward and Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama has posted a $15,000 reward. Former U.S. Attorney Jay Town also offered $1,000.
The total reward money now stands at $41,000.
The shooting happened eight days ago. Firefighter Jordan Melton, 29, died Monday. Firefighter Jamal Jones is recovering.
The USMS has declared this a major case investigation and is working with ATF and Birmingham police, said U.S. Marshal Marty Keely.
“Investigators with the task force and the ATF canvassed the neighborhood and learned that the suspect vehicle had been seen in the area about 30 minutes prior to the shooting,’’ Keely said.
A description of the suspect has not been released. Authorities previously appeared to be looking for a silver Nissan Altima.
Also Thursday, Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service said a public visitation for Melton will be held Tuesday, July 25, from noon until 5 p.m. at Smith & Gaston Chapel on Sixth Avenue South in Birmingham.
A public viewing will be held Wednesday, July 26, 2023, from 10 a.m. until noon.
The funeral will be held at 12:17 p.m. Wednesday at Faith Chapel Christian Center on Mike Moore Boulevard with burial to follow at Elmwood Cemetery.
Birmingham police and Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service were called about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 12, to Station 9 at 1228 27th St. North, where the firefighters had reportedly been shot in the chest and legs.
At least one caller reported hearing shots and ran to take cover in the bathroom.
Birmingham Police Chief Scott Thurmond last week said the shooter entered the fire station through the open bay door, which typically remains open to be accessible to residents who need their blood pressure checked or other help or information.
The shooting happened shortly after they started their shift.
The early indication is that this was a targeted attack, Thurmond said.
“We don’t know why it would be a targeted attack, that’s one of the things we’re trying to determine,’’ Thurmond said. “It’s extremely unusual for someone to come target one of our fire stations and so we’re trying to see why would someone want to target one of these fire stations in Birmingham.”
“I find it extremely troubling that they would be targeted,’’ the chief said. “I hate to say it but unfortunately, I think police would be the bigger targets. Our firefighters are there to protect and aid and rescue our citizens and to see them critically injured is troubling, disheartening.”
The chief said at least one other firefighter was inside the station when the shooting happened. That firefighter was not injured.
Asked if it could be personal in nature versus a random attack on the profession itself, Thurmond said, “That’s one of the issues we’re looking at when we say, ‘Is there a connection? What is that connection if there is one?’ We just don’t know at this point in time.
“Is it professional? Is it personal? Is it none of the above?’’ Thurmond said last week. “We just don’t know.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-877-WANTED-2 or to the ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted via the USMS Tips App.