On Tuesday, Public Safety Director James Barber told members of the Mobile City Council that a suspected gun trafficker is responsible for the murder of a Mobile man.

Speaking to the council during the weekly meeting, Barber said the suspect was "looking for guns" when 31-year-old Samuel Wilson III was shot. Wilson later died of his injuries. 

Samuel Wilson III

Victim Samuel Wilson III. 

The shooting occurred on Wednesday, June 6 on Spring Grove which is off Dawes Road. Investigators say Wilson was leaving home for work when he interrupted someone who was breaking into his car. They say the "cold-blooded" killer shot Wilson.

"Let me bring up a really important point. It's a matter of time before this was going to happen. I was saying it for many months now," Director Barber said.

Barber said he believes this all stems from a gun trafficking ring in the city of Mobile. He said those guns are stolen from unlocked vehicles then sold in and out of Mobile. That's what Barber believes the shooters were doing Thursday morning before Wilson interrupted them.

"This is actually a ring of individuals. We're talking about anywhere from 3-4 individuals that were moving through these West Mobile neighborhoods checking through cars and removing weapons from them," Barber explained. "We've had several weapons taken from around the area where the homicide occurred."

Monday, Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste released a surveillance photo of someone they want to question. They believe he's partly responsible for some of the car break-ins in West Mobile and they want to question him about Wilson's killing. Barber believes more people are involved.

Spring Grove persons of interest

Investigators released an image from a surveillance camera showing a group wanted for questioning in the case. The chief said these persons of interest are possibly connected to other vehicle burglaries in the area and may not be responsible for Samuel Wilson's murder. 

"So the scene itself is very consistent with somebody rifling through the wife's car. It's very consistent with what we have been seeing with these gun traffickers going through unlocked vehicles looking for weapons and we have had several weapons taken from that area," Barber said.

Police Chief Lawrence Battiste said his department is working diligently to find the shooter. 

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