Georgia signee E.J. Lightsey hospitalized with gunshot wounds

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

ATHENS — A linebacker who signed with the Georgia Bulldogs earlier this month has been hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

E.J. Lightsey was one of two individuals injured by gunfire in his hometown of Fitzgerald on Monday around 6:30 p.m., according to police. Lightsey was transferred by ambulance to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany with what is described as non-life-threatening injuries. The other victim’s injuries are life-threatening, police said.

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“There was a shooting that took place here last night, and E.J. Lightsey was one of our victims,” said Maj. James Reynolds of the Fitzgerald Police Department. “He was shot. His injuries are critical but not life-threatening. He was transported from Dorminy (Medical Center in Fitzgerald) to Phoebe Putney (Hospital) in Albany, and that’s where he is now.”

Reynolds described the incident as “possibly a gang-related shooting.” He said indications are that “Lightsey was just an innocent bystander.”

“Wrong place, wrong time. Got caught up in the crossfire,” Reynolds said.

Police said while those were the only two victims reported as of Tuesday morning, there may be others. He said the GBI is assisting with the investigation and processing the scene. There currently are no suspects, and police are asking for witnesses to come forward.

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To what extent Lightsey’s injuries will affect his football career is currently unknown. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker was a star player on Fitzgerald’s Class 2A state championship team this season. Ranked as a 3-star prospect and the No. 44 inside linebacker nationally by, Lightsey signed with the Bulldogs on Feb. 4 and was expected to enroll at UGA for summer classes the first week of June.