Four Shot, One Dead in Hurtsboro Restaurant Shooting

The city of Hurtsboro is hurting Wednesday after four people were shot inside a family owned restaurant.

It happened around 5:30 CST Wednesday morning at the City Grill Cafe right in the heart of downtown.

The owner, 69-year-old Donnie Hughes was killed.

The person arrested in this case is 64-year-old Walter Thomas, who lives just blocks from the grill.

Residents around the area say Hughes and Thomas got into an argument just days before the fatal shooting.

Russell county Sheriff Heath Taylor said Thomas walked into the restaurant called out Hughes’ name and then started firing off rounds.

74-year-old John Williams, 70-year-old Roy Johnson and 74-year-old John Harden all injured in the shooting.

Two of them were treated and released from the hospital, one of them, is in critical condition. But, we do not know who at this time.

Residents say Hughes was a friend to everyone and they cannot believe this just unfolded on what seemed like a normal Wednesday morning.

“Nobody expected that around here, especially at the cafe. It’s nothing we can learn from because it was out of the blue,” said Hurtsboro Resident, Jessie Byrd.

The City Grill Cafe has been in the Hughes’ family since 1954 and was a staple in the community.

“It’s a sad day that we have to work this type of case and I’m here for the family of all four who were shot and the Hughes’ family who didn’t make it,” said Sheriff Taylor.

Thomas was armed with a .20 caliber long rifle when he walked into the grill.

Sheriff Taylor said he suffers from a mental illness, but didn’t want to give any further details about him because he says he doesn’t want to give him any credit.

“I’m not giving him that gratification this morning. This is about the victims and their families who’ve been shot and the victim who didn’t make it as a result of this incident,” said Sheriff Taylor.

He surrendered later and was arrested at his home.

Thomas is in the Russell County jail charged with murder and three counts of attempted murder.

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