A homecoming week tradition at Citronelle High School led to at least one teen being treated for minor injuries from an air soft gun, according to Citronelle Mayor Jason Stringer.
"One of the things that happen to be a tradition out here is the kids go out rolling and things like that," said Mayor Jason Stringer.
Stringer confirmed that first responders arrived at the Marketplace in Citronelle after reports of shots fired at approximately 10:50 p.m.
They said after securing the scene, they found a 16-year-old male with several small "welts" and wounds consistent with plastic pellets from an air "soft" gun. Officials say the teen, who complained of breathing difficulties, was checked out. They say paramedics assessed no immediate threat to life. The victim refused transportation to a hospital.
Stringer said some witnesses claimed head football coach Jason Barnett is the person who shot the teen. Stringer says Barnett went to the police department and gave a statement, but it's still unclear what Barnett told police. Stringer tells us some of the witnesses had "inconsistencies" in their statements.
"He didn't admit or deny. He's heartbroken that it happened. We don't know for a fact that the injuries that came from that situation that he was involved in or there were other locations around town where paint ball guns and less lethal munitions were used," Police Chief Tyler Norris, Citronelle Police Department.
Stringer went on to say that this is homecoming week and a tradition of rolling houses has been practiced. He said that his office, along with the police department, have asked the kids who participate to be respectful, responsible and to not damage property.
He said the teens were asked, "numerous times" last night to go home after reports of rolling houses. He said there were also reports of furniture being thrown into swimming pools.
Stringer said the teens told police they were aware that homeowners were armed with BB guns, air guns, water hoses, etc. to ward off trespassers and damage to their property.
The teens told Stringer, " that is what makes it fun."
Chief Norris said activities of this kind during homecoming week this year have been suspended.
"In the wake of what took place last night, I personally feel like at this moment that safety is paramount and the best thing to do is suspend all of those traditions and relevant operations for the remainder of the week," Norris explained.