SHEFFIELD — A Muscle Shoals man died late Friday after two masked men broke into a residence he was visiting and shot him.
Dorian Cliff Hamilton, 27, was trying to keep the intruders from entering a back bedroom where he and five others were when he was struck by a bullet that went through his arm and into his chest, police said.
Hamilton, who lived on Fords Way in Muscle Shoals, died at Helen Keller Hospital about 11 p.m. Friday, about an hour after emergency crews were notified of the shooting.
Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray said the home invasion and shooting was at a residence in the 200 block of Sterling Boulevard, near Avalon Avenue in the southeast section of the city.
“Basically, the bullet went through his right arm and into his chest,” Ray said.
Hamilton’s body was taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy.
Ray said investigators spent Saturday trying to identify suspects and piece together what happened before, during and after the shooting.
“We’re still trying to unravel everything that went on,” Ray said. “We do have witness statements and some evidence that was found inside the house. We’re trying to build information around those.”
No other injuries were reported.
Witnesses told police two black men broke into the house.
Both were wearing ski masks and armed with guns. He said one was reportedly wearing a blue jacket and the other a black jacket. They went to the back bedroom where one shot was fired, striking Hamilton.
“When the men came into the house, there was an older lady who lived there in the living room,” police Capt. Scott Wallace said. “They knocked her down and immediately headed for the back of the house where the others were at the time.”
Wallace said at some point the two men ordered everyone to get on the ground.
Ray said apparently the people in the bedroom saw the intruders coming and Hamilton tried to keep them out by shutting the bedroom door.
Witnesses told police that Hamilton was pushing against the door with his body when the shot was fired.
Officers found a shell casing near the bedroom door but no weapon.
Wallace said it has not been determined whether anything was taken during the invasion.
He said witnesses told police the men were walking when they left after the shooting, but added detectives believe a car was parked nearby.
“We’re trying to identify the suspects and also the vehicle that they could have left in,” Ray said.
Ray said one theory investigators are looking into is that Hamilton was a target.
“We don’t have a lot to go on, and everything is an assumption at this point,” the chief said. “We’re trying to develop a motive and piece together exactly what happened from witness statements. We do have some evidence and some leads, and we are following up on those.
“This is a very serious matter, and we are pooling all our resources in an effort to determine who is responsible and why.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 256-383-1771 or Crime Stoppers at 256-386-8685.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.