One man is dead and the search is on for two armed suspects who robbed and assaulted an elderly Cottondale couple inside their home Wednesday night.
According to authorities, two black males – one with camouflage face paint – broke into the home and stole several items, including the couple’s vehicle.
Before police arrived on the scene, 77-year-old Willis Sample had a heart attack and was taken to DCH where he later died.
Based on police findings, the death has been ruled a homicide
The stolen vehicle has been recovered, but the two suspects are still on the loose.
While investigators are still processing evidence of the homicide and the home invasion style burglary- neighbors, family and friends are mourning the loss of Willis Sample.

Sample’s neighbor Paul Hoggle is devastated their 60 year friendship has been cut short.

“I couldn’t believe it happened,” Hoggle told WVUA 23. “I didn’t know he passed away until this morning. It just hurts to know someone for all this time then someone come in and take them for you just like that.”

Those close to Sample say he was from Hale County, but had lived in Tuscaloosa for decades and worked as a mail carrier.
They told us Sample was a kind man who loved the outdoors and wildlife.

“He was just a nice neighbor and would never harm anybody,” Hoggle said.

We’re told Sample’s wife was not injured, but was taken to DCH and has been discharged.
Detectives are looking for witnesses and anyone who may know anything about the events that took place at Sample’s 55th Court East residence on Wednesday, November 30th. If you have any information, you’re urged to contact the Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide Unit at (205) 464 – 8690.

Categories: Archives, Local News