A 6-year-old Newton first-grader remains in the hospital tonight after he received a gunshot wound Thursday afternoon on the Newton Elementary School campus.
The victim’s aunt, Cagney B. Jones, said Thursday night that Tylin Parker, 6, is in the hospital “in a lot of pain.” She asked everyone for their prayers this evening.
“Just continue to pray for both families,” Jones said.
Parker was injured when a gun, which was brought on campus by a fellow first-grader, went off and struck him in the leg, according to Newton County Sheriff Joedy Pennington.
"A child brought a gun in a backpack (onto school property). The weapon went off right at getting out of school time, accidentally. It hit a (6-year-old) in the leg," Pennington said.
The victim was airlifted from the school’s backyard area to a hospital in Jackson. Newton Police Chief Randy Patrick said his department and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are conducting a joint investigation of the incident.
Newton Elementary School was closed by Municipal School District Superintendent Glenda Nickson with plans to resume normal operations Oct. 4. The closure was announced via Facebook. However, Newton High School and N.H. Pilate Elementary School will remain open.
“If your middle or high school student has to stay home with your elementary student, they will not be counted absent tomorrow,” the district stated on Facebook. “Counseling services are available for all students, faculty, and staff. Please keep our district in your prayers.”
According to a parent who was waiting in line to pick up his or her child Thursday afternoon, police officers and other first responders arrived on the scene around 2 p.m.
Nickson said in a statement all three schools were placed on lockdown following the incident per district policy.
School officials began releasing students at 3:30 p.m. Thursday after the medical transport helicopter left the scene and police secured the campuses. All students were either released to guardians or were transported home via school bus by 4 p.m.
Students were released as a school official called out their name and number. Parents lined streets around the elementary school as they waited for law enforcement and school officials to release students.
Agencies responding to the incident included Newton Police, Newton County Sheriff's Department, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Decatur Police Department, Newton County Special Response Team, Newton County EMA, Newton Fire Department and CareMed EMS.