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July 28, 2014

Police search for suspect in Jacksonville shooting

Victim in critical condition at hospital

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Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 9:54 am | Updated: 5:09 pm, Tue Jun 17, 2014.

Jacksonville police Tuesday were looking for a suspect in an alleged shooting Monday night that left a 22-year-old man critically injured.

Vilas Rajesh Patel was airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham Monday night after suffering a gunshot wound that went through his back and exited his stomach, Jacksonville police said. Patel was listed in critical condition Tuesday morning, but was no longer listed in the hospital's patient list in the afternoon, said Meghan Davis, a spokeswoman with the hospital.

Davis said there are several reasons a patient may no longer be listed, including a release from the hospital, a transfer or a request by the patient or patient's family not to be listed.

Jacksonville police Chief Tommy Thompson told The Star Tuesday morning that investigators had a suspect in the shooting, but had not made an arrest.

Attempts to reach Thompson Tuesday afternoon for an update were unsuccessful.

Thompson said Patel was shot during a dispute around 11 p.m. Monday in the driveway of a home on the 800 block of Mountain Avenue. Thompson said there were no witnesses to the shooting, but Patel’s girlfriend told police Patel was at his home on the 700 block of Mountain Avenue when he received a phone call from an acquaintance to meet him where the shooting took place. Police said a witness saw a car leave the scene after the shooting.

Patel's Facebook page said he worked as a cook at Jefferson's restaurant in Jacksonville. When reached by phone Tuesday, an employee at Jefferson's said he could not talk about Patel or the incident.

Attempts Tuesday to reach Patel's friends and family though were unsuccessful.

Angie Finley,  public relations specialist with Jacksonville State University, said Patel had been enrolled in spring classes at the college and was majoring in criminal justice.

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