ECSO probes gun discharge at ECHS gym
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Escambia County Sheriff’s Office investigators expect to make at least one arrest in connection to a November 9 incident during which two people suffered minor injuries when a gun accidentally discharged during an Escambia County High School (ECHS) basketball game.
The incident reportedly occurred with less than two minutes to play in the girls varsity game. The boys varsity game was cancelled.
Sheriff Heath Jackson reported that ECSO deputies, along with Atmore police officers, were dispatched to ECHS’s Cornell Torrence Gymnasium in response to a report of a weapon having been discharged during a basketball game.
A preliminary investigation revealed that a small group of individuals, including a young man who was concealing a handgun in his waistband, entered the gym area.
The sheriff said the firearm “fell from the suspect’s pants and hit the ground, causing the gun to discharge.”
Two people from the group later showed up at area hospitals for treatment of what appeared to be wounds from bullet fragments.
“This is an isolated incident, and there doesn’t appear to be any intent to shoot or harm anyone,” the sheriff said.
School Superintendent Michele McClung said education officials are currently working with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and Atmore Police Department to revise protocols for entry to athletic contests at the gym.
“The gym was cleared, and the game was cancelled,” McClung said. “At this time, there are confirmed reports of two accidental injuries, and those are being investigated by the sheriff’s office. The safety of our students, employees, visitors to and members of our community as spectators to our events is of the utmost importance.”
The investigation is ongoing into the incident, and updates will be issued “in the future, as arrests are made,” the sheriff said.