Gunman Committed to Mental Institution

Jul 8, 2014

An Alabama man accused of holding five girls at gunpoint in a school locker room last year has been committed to a state mental institution by a judge. reports a court order issued Monday places 22-year-old Ryan Matthews Sims in the custody of the Alabama Department of Mental Health until a judge approves his release.  Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to the deal after an assessment found Sims suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.  Sims had been charged with kidnapping after the February 2013 incident at Chelsea Middle School in Shelby County.  The girls were held in a locker room for about 20 minutes, and the school was placed on lockdown.  But nobody was harmed. 

ASU Revamp

Alabama State University officials say they're committed to revamping administrative processes to respond to a recent credit  downgrade and a warning from an accreditation agency.  In a statement Monday, ASU President Gwendolyn Boyd said the school's recent credit downgrade by Moody's Investor's Service is the third in almost nine months and she considers it a "very serious issue."  Boyd says university officials are hopeful that fiscal austerity and the implementation of financial best practices will help restore the school's credit rating.  Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says although he's disappointed, he's confident the school will bounce back. 

Streets Reopen

The city of Montgomery has reopened the intersection of Monroe and North Perry streets.  The location has been closed since June 26th when a portion of the Webber Building collapsed.  The more than 150 year old building had been under renovation into a multi-use facility with plans for retail, office and residential space.  The owner of the building has indicated he plants to continue the restoration project.