2009-06-11 / Front Page

Tiger athlete shot, treated, released after gunfire at Athens basketball tournament


TEVERRIUS JONES is a regular starter for the W-W Tigers in both football and basketball. TEVERRIUS JONES is a regular starter for the W-W Tigers in both football and basketball. A star Tiger athlete was shot in the foot while attending a basketball camp tournament at Cedar Shoals High School in Athens last Friday night. He was treated and released at an Athens hospital and is now recovering at home. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Teverrius "Poodie" Jones, a starter on the Tiger basketball team and the starting quarterback for the football team, is still on crutches and said, "In eight more days I go back to the hospital to get my stitches out and I guess then the doctor will tell me how long my recovery will be."

He and the rest of the Tigers had just beaten Oglethorpe County in the tournament and had gone into an adjoining gymnasium to see the outcome of a game between Athens Academy and Commerce. A Commerce player was injured and the gym was relatively quiet as he was being attended. The Tigers took their seats to wait for the game to finish. They were anxious to see the winner because that team would be their opponent in the championship game.

Tiger Head Coach Don Keiser said he was sitting next to Jones on the second bleacher, surrounded by the other team members.

"All of a sudden we heard a big boom," Jones recalled, "and a few seconds later I grabbed my leg and told one of my friends that I thought I had been shot. I told him to get my coach."

Keiser said he wasn't quite sure where the shot came from but it might have been from a balcony above where they were sitting. "Everyone jumped and some people headed for the exits," he said. "I jumped up and looked around thinking that there might be more shots. Thirty seconds later I smelled smoke and then Poodie said, 'Coach, my foot is burning.'"

The coach said he could see where the bullet went into Jones' shoe but didn't know the extent of the injury until he took the shoe off and saw that Jones' sock was dripping blood. At that point he said, "Call the police. My player has been shot."

Investigation determined that the shot ricocheted off a metal step in the nearby bleachers before it hit Jones.

"It hit the bleachers and came up and went into the shoe," Jones reported. "If it had been a straight shot, it would have hit the bone and I wouldn't have been able to play sports for the rest of my time." The quarterback was scheduled to attend a training camp this week and does not think he will have the opportunity to go to another one.

"Coach Keiser and a nurse that was there helped me and then two of my friends helped me into the trainers room," Jones said. After about 20-25 minutes, paramedics arrived, treated Jones for about 20 minutes, and then transported him to St. Mary's Hospital off Baxter Street in Athens.

"The Cedar Shoals coach never asked me if he could do anything or if he could help in any way," Keiser said disappointedly. "In fact, he went ahead and played another game in the other gym and as far as we knew, the shooter could have still been in the building."

Keiser said that he and the rest of his players were detained for about an hour and a half while statements were taken and all their book bags were searched. "It was almost like they were accusing us of something," he said.

"We were finally allowed to leave," Keiser continued, "but I never heard anything from anyone on Cedar Shoals' staff and the coach never said a word to me. I took our players and we all went to St. Mary's to see Poodie."

The investigation is still ongoing and Athens authorities have not reported any arrests at this time. However, it was reported that the gun was recovered at the scene but yielded no fingerprints. No suspects are as yet identified.

Considering that Jones will make a complete recovery, Keiser said, "We were all extremely blessed. I like what Mario [Gresham] said that night, 'Now we know this team is destined for something special.'"

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