Lamar County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 13-year-old Friday, who is accused of shooting a man on the Longleaf Trace, a popular exercise trail, with a BB gun.
The boy, who has not been identified because of his age, was charged with simple assault, Sheriff Danny Rigel said Monday.
“We are in the process of recovering the BB gun,” Rigel said Friday. “The juvenile is in juvenile detention and has been turned over to the Lamar County Youth Court.”
The victim, Grover Brown, a graduate student at the University of Southern Mississippi, said he is glad the suspect was caught, especially after he learned the teen may have been involved in other incidents.
He said he appreciates the work the sheriff’s department put into finding the suspect.
“I hope they are getting him the help that he needs because it sounds like he’s going down a path of aggression,” he said.
Brown, who runs the Trace nearly every day, is in training to run the Boston Marathon, which means he works on different fitness routines every day to prepare for the big race.
Training has its ups and downs, but one thing Brown didn’t expect was getting shot with a BB gun while running.
The incident occurred Jan. 31 between Jackson Road Station and West Hills Road as he was nearing the completion of an 8-mile run.
He said he saw a bicycle on the side of the Trace and thought it was odd since no one was around. The same bike was there on his way back, which to him seemed suspicious.
“Right as I passed it, I felt a pressure and a stinging from my right elbow,” Brown said. “I turned around and saw an African-American male running back down the hill. I couldn’t make out his age.”
Brown said he shouted at the fleeing figure, “but because I was so close to the end of my run and I was meeting some friends for dinner, I just left it at that.”
Brown wasn’t sure what hit him, but he didn’t want to stop what he was doing. Later on he felt something running down his arm. He thought it might have been from a paint ball. He had no idea it was blood.
Brown said he shared information about the incident with the Pine Belt Pacers, a running club, to alert other runners to be on alert when running through the area where he was shot.
“Really the post was just about my friends, to let them know to be careful running through there,” he said. “I kinda felt bad, like I kinda induced a panic.”
Brown said if the suspect had been apprehended right away, he would not have posted anything on Facebook. He didn’t want to discourage people from running on the Trace, since it is usually a safe place to run.
“I’ve run the Trace thousands of times, and I’m sure this is an isolated incident,” he wrote to the Pacers group. “But I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with my running family.”
When Brown was injured, he and the deputy who responded to the incident didn’t find a projectile in the wound, but later Brown said he could feel it under his skin, so sought medical attention to have it removed.
Despite the incident, Brown has continued to train for the Boston Marathon with a few friends, who also are running in the race with him on April 15.
“I was still out there running the next day, in the same section of the Trace,” he said. “I didn’t let that stop me. But when I found out (the suspect) was caught, it made me feel a lot better.
“I’m glad that were able to find him and give me some peace of mind and the people of Hattiesburg peace of mind.”
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