WEST POINT, GA (WTVM) – Tragedy strikes the city of Lanett as a popular and well known high school athlete is killed in an accidental shooting. News Leader 9 has learned the teen's friend has been arrested and charged with manslaughter.
"We've been told it's an accidental situation, it's just a sad situation," said Lanett School Superintendent, Phillip Johnson.
Johnson said 18-year-old Terry Thomas was a good kid.
"We have a small school about one-thousand students. Everyone knew Terry. Je was on the basketball teem a good athlete and a really good guy. It's been very upsetting as you can imagine," he said.
West Point police say the accidental shooting happened inside a car on Tuesday night around 6:20. Thomas was sitting in the front passenger seat, while the car was parked in front of the Sunlit Convenience store in West Point.
Investigators say the teens friend, 21-year-old Lemarcus Wright was sitting in the back. Wright told police he was trying to unload a gun, when the firearm discharged.
Thomas was shot once and later died. Wright faces felony involuntary manslaughter, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Meanwhile, Johnson says pastors and grief counselors have been at Lanett High School, helping students cope with the loss of their friend. Later in the week, students will learn about gun safety.
"The principal and school resource officer, they thought it would be beneficial to put on a program on firearms and fire arm safety we don't know all of the details, a lot of it is just speculation at this point, but we want students to learn from this tragedy so it doesn't happen again," he said.
Johnson said they decided to not hold a vigil at the high school for the popular student, fearing it would be to painful for his friends and family. We understand funeral arrangements for Thomas are still being made.