A 17-year-old has been charged with manslaughter in the gun death of a senior at Huffman High School Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala., the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Michael Jerome Barber is also facing a charge of certain persons forbidden to possess a pistol for bringing a pistol to the campus and “recklessly causing the death” of Courtlin Arrington, 17.
Officials initially said two students had been shot in the incident, which they called an accident. District Attorney Mike Anderton confirmed to Crimesider that Barber was the person injured at the school. Al.com reports Barber is a student and is being held in Birmingham City Jail following his release from the hospital hours after the shooting.
Anderton called the shooting “reckless,” but wouldn’t say whether he believes it was accidental or intentional. He also wouldn’t speak to the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
The website reports Barber is a wide receiver on the school’s football team.
Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring said at a news conference Thursday that the high school has metal detectors, but they were not in use the day Arrington was fatally shot. She vowed a full review of school safety procedures.
She said Arrington was an energetic, friendly, and well-liked student who “was lost to senseless gun violence.” Arrington had already been accepted to Concordia College and wanted to pursue a career as a nurse.
“We are not removed from the fact that Courtlin Arrington, our student, our aspiring nurse, is no longer with us,” Herring said tearfully.
Herring said students would pay special tribute to Arrington on the upcoming “National School Walkout Day” March 14. Students across the country are planning to walk out of school for 17 minutes that day to honor the lives of the 17 victims of the school massacre last month in Parkland, Florida and support stricter gun laws. Herring said Birmingham students would walk out for 18 minutes in memory of Arrington.
“Our hearts go out to the family of Ms. Arrington, all of her friends, and those whose lives would have been changed through her nursing dreams had this event not occurred,” the district attorney said in a statement. “This is a parent’s worst nightmare. We expect the charges will be heard through the court system and justice meted out to the person responsible.”