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Woman left disabled in fatal shooting at high school football game is suing DCPS

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — A teen left permanently disabled in a fatal shooting at a Raines High School Football game in 2018 is suing Duval County Public Schools and its former police chief, claiming the district failed to prevent the violence by neglecting to report crime on campuses.

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“She witnesses a brutal murder and is herself shot,” Khlayah Wright’s attorney, Robert Spohrer said. Spohrer says Wright had just turned 16 when she was hit by a stray bullet as the football game was letting out. He says the team filed a lawsuit against DCPS police, alleging it failed to give adequate security to students at the game.

“Khlayah has had surgery for her injury, she has been declared to be disabled,” he said. Spohrer says a jury could not reach a verdict on Wright’s original complaint back in July.

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Then in August, a statewide grand jury criticized DCPS police of under-reporting crimes in schools -- to the tune of more than 2,000 alleged crimes not having been reported from 2016 to 2019. The report specifically names former schools police chief Michael Edwards, and now, so does the lawsuit.

“We now know, as a result of the work of the grand jury, that one of the gang members involved in this fight which resulted in the shooting, was actually in custody that night... and Mr. Edwards ordered that he be released,” Spohrer added.

That’s when Spohrer says the fight continued and spilled out into the parking lot, where a man was shot and killed, and Wright, as a bystander, was injured. “The school board police not only had a duty to provide protection that night, but that they had one of the perpetrators in custody, and he was released,” he said.

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The newly filed lawsuit alleges DCPS police and Edwards’ under-reporting of crime was part of a “scheme to convince taxpayers, the state government, and local government that the Duval County School Police was effective, efficient, and meeting its responsibilities.”

Spohrer says Wright’s family wants an explanation from Edwards as to why he ordered the release. “We look forward to a trial for Khlayah,” Spohrer said.

Late Tuesday, Action News Jax reached out to DCPS for comment on the case. We’ll update this story if we get a response.


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