MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For the first time since Tuesday night’s deadly shooting at Humboldt High School, officials at every level are sharing their concerns, their outrage and a pledge to seek justice.
The shooting happened at a concession stand during a basketball game between Humboldt High School and Northside High Tuesday night.
Police said 21-year-old Justin Kevon Pankey of Humboldt was killed in the shooting. Two others were injured and treated at local hospitals.
Pankey was a graduate of Humboldt High School.
Humboldt Police held a press conference Thursday morning concerning the deadly triple shooting.
District Attorney General Frederick Agee said one of the victims is now paralyzed from his injuries.
18-year-old Jadon Davon Hardiman of Jackson has been arrested for the shooting. Hardiman was reportedly identified by witnesses and school security camera video.
Assistant Chief of Humboldt Police Dan Ables says Hardiman turned himself in Wednesday evening.
Hardiman faces several charges, including first degree murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder, tampering with evidence, employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and carrying a weapon on school property.
Agee said law enforcement believes Hardiman knew the victims. Lt. Tony Williams with Humboldt Police says police believe the two surviving victims were not targeted.
“We think they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Williams said.
Hardiman is reportedly being held on a $1.5 million bond. Agee said the DA’s office is asking to revoke Hardiman’s bail.
“It is my mission as the DA to make sure that Jadon Hardiman never walks as a free man again,” Agee said.
Humboldt City Schools Superintendent Dr. Janice Epperson said other than signs posted forbidding weapons on school property, there were no weapons detection devices in use at Tuesday’s game. Epperson also said security guards were at the game the night of the shooting.
“It’s a family event, it’s a school sanctioned event,” she said. “So we did not have any detectors or any way of knowing.”
She said after Tuesday’s shooting, security procedures will be reviewed.
“We are going to heighten the security, because we do know we have to have some way of detecting if weapons are coming in,” Epperson said.
Humboldt City Schools Safety and Project Manager Viktor Horton says the state requires schools to have intruder drills once a year, but Humboldt Schools has done it three or four times so far this year.
“That’s one of our main concerns, is for them to practice enough that in case it happens, they are familiar and understand what they need to do for safety purposes,” Horton said.
Epperson said around 500 people were at the school at the time of the shooting. She stresses that Humboldt High students were not involved in the shooting.
“Our kids didn’t do it,” she said.
She said counselors will be available on campus all day Thursday. The superintendent says social workers and counselors have always been available at the school but more groups may arrive in the coming days.
Epperson also said state testing has been canceled for this week and will resume next week.
Humboldt Mayor Marvin Sikes stressed that the community at large was safe.
“I just want to let our citizens know that you’re safe. Our people are still out there working,” Sikes said.
He said Humboldt received support from neighboring towns.
“It was unbelievable of the support that Humboldt, Tennessee, was getting from the surrounding communities,” Sikes said. “It just touched my heart.”
A weapon was recovered, but police aren’t saying what the motive was behind the shooting. Hardiman is expected to have a preliminary hearing in December, though a date was not announced Thursday.
Officials with Humboldt City Schools said plans are still on to have hold this Saturday’s basketball game with Crockett County.