Arrests made in shooting that injured Georgia signee E.J. Lightsey

Fitzgerald’s E.J. Lightsey (8) carries the ball into the end zone for the Hurricanes in the first half of a GHSA class AA championship game Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta. (Daniel Varnado/ For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Combined ShapeCaption
Fitzgerald’s E.J. Lightsey (8) carries the ball into the end zone for the Hurricanes in the first half of a GHSA class AA championship game Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta. (Daniel Varnado/ For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Linebacker from Fitzgerald expected to make full recovery

ATHENS — E.J. Lightsey likely will be able to play football again. The hope still is that will be with Georgia, but that’s not the primary concern at the moment.

ExploreMore AJC coverage of the Bulldogs

Lightsey, a UGA recruit from the 2022 signing class, is recovering from gunshot wounds suffered in a Feb. 21 shooting in his hometown of Fitzgerald. Lightsey was one of two individuals wounded in that incident. The other person, 37-year-old Maurice Robinson, died from his wounds Thursday, according to police.

After a joint investigation that included Fitzgerald police, the GBI Gang Task Force and the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force, Jiquavious Wilcox, 23, and Andre Pierce, 42, were arrested Tuesday and received multiple charges in the case, which remains open.

“There will be more arrests in this case,” Fitzgerald police Chief William Smallwood said.

Fitzgerald police Lt. James Reynolds, who was on the scene the night of the shooting, described the incident as “gang-related,” but said police believe that Lightsey was “an innocent bystander.”

ExploreE.J. Lightsey hospitalized with gunshot wounds

Tucker Pruitt, Lightsey’s coach at Fitzgerald High School, said school policy limits him in what he can say about the situation.

“What I can tell you is E.J. is doing good,” Pruitt said. “Other than that, they don’t want any other details out. They don’t know if people are out to get him, and I don’t know the complete deal on his medical situation, but we think he’s going to be fine.”

Whether Lightsey is well enough to honor the scholarship offer he accepted from Georgia on signing day Feb. 2 remains to be seen. Pruitt believes that Lightsey will.

“We’re all hoping so,” he said. “We’re expecting him to make a full recovery, and I believe he’ll be able to play football again. Right now, I just know he’s going to be OK.”

Pruitt said Georgia and coach Kirby Smart have been checking on Lightsey regularly.

“They were genuinely concerned about E.J. and his health,” Pruitt said. “And like everybody else, they’re just trying to figure out what the heck happened.”

Lightsey was a key player on Fitzgerald’s Class 2A state championship team this past season. A 6-foot-2, 210-pound inside linebacker, Lightsey was a 3-star recruiting prospect. He is scheduled to report to UGA’s campus with the other 2022 signees the first week of June.