Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste said officers were called around 6 p.m. to the scene downtown, where they found the man dead and the woman injured. The city is currently celebrating Mardi Gras, which originated in Mobile, and was in the middle of the biggest party the community sees each year.
The gunfire erupted less than an hour before the Infant Mystics parade was set to roll, AL.com reported. The victims were shot a couple of blocks from where the day's previous parade had ended.
"We are currently looking for a black male by the name of Anthony Orr, who is the suspect in this shooting," Battiste told reporters at the crime scene Monday night, according to video from Fox 10 in Mobile. "We believe that this shooting is domestic-related. He chose to deal with the domestic situation here at Mardi Gras."
Orr had threatened his ex-wife, who was riding on a float, from the parade route as the festivities were underway, Battiste said.
The chief asked anyone in the public who knew Orr or spotted him to call police.
"Don't harbor him. Please notify us," Battiste said.
Orr was taken into custody around 10 p.m., Fox 10 reported.
Court records obtained by the news station show Orr was arrested Feb 18, just six days before the shooting, on domestic violence charges. The documents indicate the victim, Orr's ex-wife, told police he had beat her, kicking her in the face, in October 2018.
Orr was released on bail three days before the double shooting, AL.com reported.
“This is a prime example of, potentially, where somebody may not should have had access to bail because of the offense he committed,” Battiste said. “Once a person has identified themselves as a shooter, it’s kind of hard to get them to stop.”
Anthony Orr is escorted to jail by police officers in the video below, courtesy of WKRG in Mobile.
Alabama legislators are seeking to pass a constitutional amendment denying bail to suspects accused of violent Class A felonies. The bill, which the Montgomery Advertiser reported was approved last week by the state House Judiciary Committee, is named after Aniah Blanchard, a 19-year-old college student who was abducted from an Auburn convenience store and killed in October.
At the time of Blanchard's abduction, the man accused of the crime, Ibraheem Yazeed, was free on $295,000 bond, the Advertiser reported. Yazeed, 29, had been charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery and drug charges in a January 2019 attack on two men at a Montgomery hotel.
He now faces the death penalty in Blanchard’s abduction and shooting death.
"We really believe the constitutional amendment will speak to this type of issues that we're dealing with tonight," Battiste said. "We shouldn't be dealing with something like this if this guy had a history that indicated he should have been denied bail."
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said Monday night that there were people who knew prior to the shooting that Orr had threatened his ex-wife and her new boyfriend.
“There was enough information to be conveyed that this was an actual, valid threat. He was intending to carry out this threat,” Stimpson said.
Battiste and James Barber, the city's public safety director, told Fox 10 that Orr had threatened the victims Sunday night and Monday afternoon. He also actively tried to gain access to weapons throughout the day Monday, Barber said.
“There are other people that knew there was a threat to kill the deceased, so it would have been very helpful if somebody had reached out to us. And maybe somebody had, but we haven’t been able to confirm that,” Stimpson said. “If you know that somebody has been threatened with their life and you know there’s a history of violence, you’ve got to tell us if you expect us to do something about it.”
Police officials and the mayor tried to assuage paradegoers’ fear as the city prepared for Fat Tuesday, the final and biggest day of Mardi Gras season.
“If anything, because of this situation, there is a heightened awareness on our part that we can’t let our guard down coming into the last day of Mardi Gras,” Stimpson said. “That’s when things can happen that you don’t expect to happen. But we have got everything that we have out there trying to make sure that everybody is safe.”
The mayor urged the public to pray for the victims and their families.
“How does your heart not break for those who have been shot?” he said.
Court records obtained by AL.com show Orr's divorce was finalized in September. In the woman's March 2019 filing, she alleged he had been verbally, emotionally and physically abusive.
The woman had obtained a protection from abuse order the year before, the news site reported.
Orr pleaded guilty in August 2019 to resisting arrest, a charge that stemmed from a March incident in which his ex-wife called the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office to report he was breaking into her home. Deputies found him near the home, and when he refused to follow their commands, they stunned him with a Taser.
"As we were helping Anthony Orr to his feet he made the statement he always wondered what a taser felt like and wondered if it really worked," a deputy wrote in an arrest report, according to AL.com. "(Orr) stated that he is a believer now."