An Alabama teenager has been charged with manslaughter and illegal gun possession for the death of Courtlin Arrington in what is the third fatal high school shooting of the year.
AL reports the shooting happened Wednesday (Mar. 7) at Huffman High School in Birmingham, Ala. as students were being let out of school. Arrington was shot in chest by Michael Jerome Barber. The teen was given CPR at the scene but died 30 minutes later. Barber also shot himself in the leg at the time of the shooting.
The shooting was believed to be accidental, but that quickly changed after surveillance was reviewed by detectives. Arrington’s family told reporters the teen didn’t know Barber. Three resource officers were also on campus at the time of the shooting, but it is unknown where they were when it happened. The school has metal detectors but they were not in use on Wednesday. Students who knew the suspect claim he was robbed the day before and reportedly had a gun for protection.
Arrington was described as a dedicated and ambitious student who had plans to become a nurse. She was already accepted to Concordia College and was also seen wearing scrubs to prepare for her career.
Barber played on the school’s football team. He was arrested with a bail of $75,300, but was later released on Friday. The teen has been quiet about the shooting, but his sister Makiya Barber shared her thoughts on the matter through Facebook. “Out the big ole gate!” Barber said with a photo of herself and Barber. “Y’all can stop the fake friend request(s) now. God still gotta plan for the kid!”
PalmBeachPost reports the teens’ friends appeared to be happy about Barber’s release. Barber’s sister has also defended her brother and his actions. “And what y’all NOT about to do is make my brother out to be this horrible unparented child,” she said in another post. “All the ‘he say, she say,’ We have the facts! Rest in peace, baby girl, and my brother is gonna come out stronger and wiser.”
Students have planned memorials for Arrington while her family prepares for her funeral on March 24; the same weekend as her prom.“Her father had just ordered her prom dress online,” Arrington’s grandfather, Zach Arrington, said to AL, “and she didn’t even know it yet.” A National School Walkout for the victims of the Parkland Shooting is scheduled for March 14. Arrington’s friends will walkout for 18 minutes instead of 17 to honor the victims of the shooting as well as Arrington.