Beaverbrook Elementary parking lot shooting appears to be accidental, Sheriff says

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

One woman was seriously wounded Monday afternoon in a shooting incident in the parking lot of Beaverbrook Elementary School. The preliminary investigation suggests this appears to be an accidental shooting.

“We have one person shot – it’s a female,” Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix reported at the scene. “She appears to have three wounds.”

After reporting directly to Dix, one man who was in the car rider line when the shooting occurred spoke to The GRIP.

“I was here to pick up my granddaughter. I heard the shot fired, but I wasn’t sure if it was a gunshot or if someone might have set off fireworks – a firecracker,” said the man who requested not to be identified. “I heard one shot fired. Only one.”

The victim was initially transported by private vehicle to the Emergency Department of WellStar Spalding Regional Hospital.

She has since been airlifted to the Trauma Unit of Atlanta Medical Center.

According to Dix, the victim sustained a gunshot wound to the back.

Medical reports indicate she appears to have three wounds, Dix said.

Early reports from Capt. Dwayne Jones cited no suspect was in custody, none had been identified and no one was being sought in the shooting incident.

“The victim is conscious and alert and has spoken with investigators,” Dix later stated. “From her, we have conflicting stories, but nothing we have from her points to anything that isn’t accidental.”

Dix said the investigation suggests a firearm was improperly stored in the vehicle, which resulted in an accidental discharge by a family member.

Investigators will obtain a search warrant for the vehicle in which the victim was transported to the hospital, Dix said.

“The main thing in this – whatever happened – is that it wasn’t directed at students or staff. They were inside doing an awards ceremony,” Dix said. “It was not related to school activities or any functions of the school itself.”

Officials of the Griffin-Spalding County School System were present at Beaverbrook Elementary School monitoring events, and a letter was released to parents.

“We want to make you aware of an incident that occurred this afternoon. The Spalding County Sheriff (sic) Department is investigating an alleged shooting that occurred at Beaverbrook Elementary School. According to the Sheriff’s Department, this incident was unrelated to the school, all students and staff remained safe and there was no interruption to dismissal,” the letter stated. “Beaverbrook Elementary School administrators are cooperating with law enforcement as they continue their investigation on campus. The safety of students, staff, and parents remain our top priority and we are grateful for the Sheriff’s Department’s immediate response to this matter.”

School will resume at Beaverbrook Elementary School on a normal schedule Tuesday morning.

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