NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal paid for the funeral of a woman killed last week in a shooting after a high school graduation, according to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office.
O’Neal reached out to Sheriff Victor Hill shortly after the shooting, which occurred May 18 in a parking lot across the street from Mount Zion High School, the agency said in a statement.
The four-time NBA champion, who was sworn in as a Clayton County sheriff’s deputy in December 2016, wanted to offer his help.
“After making contact with the victim’s family, Sheriff Hill determined that they needed assistance with funeral arrangements and Deputy O’Neal graciously covered the expenses,” the sheriff’s office said in the statement.
The victim, who has not been identified, was one of two women caught in the crossfire when two parties began shooting in the parking lot. The area was being used as overflow parking for the graduation for Perry Career Academy, an alternative high school in Jonesboro.
The ceremony had recently ended when the women were shot, but the incident was not related to the graduation or the high school, the school district said.
According to a police report, one woman was shot in the upper left shoulder. She was taken to Southern Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. Channel 2 Action News reported she was in her 40s.
The other woman was shot in the rear of her thigh and survived. She is 21 years old, the news station reported.
A third woman, who was 36 weeks pregnant, was thrown to the ground in the commotion. She was checked out by medics for minor injuries, according to Channel 2.
Since the deadly shooting, Clayton County police have made two arrests in the case.
Despite numerous requests from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for more information, authorities have not released the names of those arrested, their charges or the motive for the shooting.
Attempts to reach Clayton County school police and sheriff’s office jail administrators were unsuccessful Friday.
The GBI confirmed an autopsy was performed the day after the shooting, but did not release the victim’s name. “Confidential” is in the space reserved for the victim’s name in a Clayton County police incident report obtained by The AJC.
Hill thanked O’Neal for his gesture.
“The length of his heart far exceeds his height,” Hill said. “We never ask him for anything, but when he sees a need, he is Johnny-on-the-spot!”