Gun discharges near youth football practice

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Parents and players get ready for a youth football practice Monday afternoon across from Marshall Elementary School. A shotgun was found in the woods and discharged near the practice field on Thursday. No one was injured.

Approximately 100 youth football players and parents were alarmed by a single shotgun blast that rang out in the woods near apractice Thursday afternoon.

Parent Ronnie Fuller had already set up a folding chair in the shade of the woods, waiting to watch his son practice. He saw three kids who walk to practice from the apartments on the other side of the woods come out of the trees, then go back in. The gunshot came after that.

The boys finally admitted they had found a shotgun in the woods, picked it up, and it had gone off. Fuller went into the woods and retrieved the gun, which was an old single-shot shotgun with the end of the barrel split.

Fuller said he and other parents weren't happy with the Lewisburg Police Department's investigation.

"Lots of parents are very upset," said Fuller, who was at the football field opposite Marshall Elementary School with his son for the Junior Bears' football practice. Fuller said "about 100 kids" were at the scene when the gun discharged about 5:20 p.m.

When LPD officer Steve Sanders Jr. arrived on the scene, Fuller said Sanders did not search the woods, question the boys, or take precautions to preserve the fingerprints on the weapon.

"I expected more," Fuller said. "At least ask questions about who touched it. I don't understand: why didn't he at least go in there and look around?"

Chief Chuck Forbis told the Tribune Tuesday that his officers had returned to the woods beside the practice fields and located a "campsite." He said it "looked like someone had been staying there." Forbis said the person's belongings were still there, but so far, LPD had not been able to contact the individual. The property owner was "not aware" of anyone staying there.

"We don't know the gun was theirs," Forbis said. "We're looking into that aspect of it. It could be a homeless person."

Sanders reported that, "The weapon was transported to the LPD and run by serial number. No stolen reports on the weapon were located."

The shotgun is currently in the evidence locker at the police station.