Violent events end with inferno

Published 1:41 am Sunday, April 24, 2011

Firefighters with the Selma Fire Department try to douse the flames of a fully involved fire at 202 Landsend Ave. late Saturday night. Officials with the Selma Police Department, Selma Fire Department and the Alabama State Fire Marshall’s office are investigating the blaze as a possible arson after a number of gun and fire-related calls came from the house throughout the day. -- Tim Reeves

A reported disturbance earlier in the day at 202 Landsend Ave., in the Selmont community, escalated throughout the day Saturday into a later shooting and then a fully involved house fire.

Selma Police investigators are continuing to look into just what happened at the home and the ongoing violence. But, based on witness reports and other information, investigators do believe the terrifying day around the home was in some way connected to gangs.

The first report of a disturbance occurred earlier in the day Saturday. After that incident appeared to have been calmed by law enforcement, a report of a tree fire, shortly before 9 p.m. at the same home, brought out the Selma Fire Department. It was when shots were also fired into the home and returned moments later, that the Selma Police Department was also dispatched.

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Selma Lt. David Evans said witnesses reported an individual or individuals discharging a shotgun into the home shortly after setting a tree, next to the home on fire. Reportedly, someone from inside the home then chased after the shooters with a semi-automatic weapon and fired an estimated 10 shots in their direction.

“We believe that shots from a shotgun were fired towards the house,” Evans said, standing at a street corner adjacent to the home. “The rounds found here (corner of Landsend and Johnson St.) were believed to be return fire.”

Evans said no one was reported shot and that the individuals alleged to have fired the shotgun were still not in custody.

But, one of the residents of the Landsend Ave. home, Ronald Stallworth, was taken into custody after it was found he had an outstanding warrant from the State of Alabama for failure to appear on a traffic citation.

He was taken into custody, handed over to the Alabama State Troopers and then booked into the Dallas County Jail.

Around 10 p.m., reports of shots fired near the home were again reported, but no one was found in the area and no arrests were made.

Later, before midnight, a fire call came across the 911 system. A Selma police officer came upon the home that was fully involved and then called for the fire department.

Once there, the department could do little other than douse the flames and keep the fire from spreading.

According to witnesses, who asked to remain anonymous, the other residents of the Landsend Avenue home packed up some belongings after the initial shooting and fire call and left the home.

Selma Fire Department officials said there was no one in the home at the time of the devastating fire.