A child accidentally fired the shot in an elementary school parking lot that sent a woman to the hospital, the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Tuesday.
Officials at Beaverbrook Elementary School had already dismissed students Monday when they learned of the shooting that injured 24-year-old Shameka Blackmon, sheriff’s Capt. Dwayne Jones said.
“It appears that the minor child picked up the weapon that had been left unsecured in the back seat of a car and fired the shot that struck Blackmon,” Jones said.
The gun belonged to Blackmon’s friend, Kenya Sandifer.
About 2:35 p.m., deputies responded to Spalding Regional Hospital, where Blackmon was taken after she was shot. Police said she gave conflicting information and at one point said a friend shot her.
According to authorities, Blackmon, Sandifer, a child and Blackmon’s sister, who both have special needs, were at the school for an awards ceremony. Sandifer, who is a licensed gun owner, removed the gun and put it in the car’s back seat before they went inside the school.
After the ceremony, the foursome returned to the car, where Blackmon and Sandifer stood on the passenger side of the car loading a cooler. At the same time, the child who was seated in the back seat with Blackmon’s sister grabbed the gun, fired a shot and dropped the gun onto the seat, authorities said.
Jones said Sandifer took the gun and put it in the hatch area of the car. They then drove toward the hospital.
Blackmon’s family met her near Ga. 92 and drove her the rest of the way. Blackmon was eventually flown to Atlanta Medical Center. Her condition was not released.
During the investigation, deputies discovered the gun was in a state of “stovepipe,” a type of malfunction that occurs when a casing is partially outside of the chamber. Authorities also retrieved one projectile and casing.
No students were injured during the shooting. School officials called parents and notified them of the incident.
“It was an isolated incident and there was no threat to the school, students or staff,” Jones said. “As of now, the criminal portion of the investigation is still ongoing.”
Investigators are consulting with the Spalding District Attorney’s Office to determine if charges will be filed.