TREUTLEN COUNTY, Georgia – A Georgia high school football game has been called off due to tensions and threats of violence between neighboring counties during a gang-related shooting this summer, WGXA reports.
Treutlen County High School in Soperton was scheduled to play at Johnson County High School in Wrightsville on Friday night. The two counties are neighbors in east-central Georgia, just southeast of Macon.
According to WGXA, a Johnson County man was killed in a gang-related shootout over the summer.
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Harvey Harris Jr., 31, was killed at a party in Treutlen County on June 19. He was celebrating his birthday, four days after his death.
Harris lived in Johnson County.
Ahead of Friday night’s game, someone on social media threatened to “shoot” anyone from Treutlen County traveling to Johnson County for the game.
Treutlen County Superintendent Bradley Anderson said school officials believed rising tensions after Harris’ gunshot death triggered various threats against the high school.
“To our knowledge and the information available, the individual has not been apprehended and the threats remain active and we did not feel safe sending our players, coaches, parents and fans into a potentially dangerous situation,” said Anderson at WGXA.
Anderson said the Johnson County superintendent had promised there would be a massive law enforcement presence at the game as well as members of a local gang task force. But officials told WGXA they still don’t feel comfortable playing the game.
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The district on Thursday asked Johnson County to move the game earlier today or to another day. According to Anderson, the district refused to do either.
Johnson County Superintendent Eddie Morris said Treutlen County forfeited and had nothing to do with a shooting.
Morris posted a statement on Facebook, writing: “We had discussed this situation with our local law enforcement. We have an excellent working relationship with our Sheriff’s Department and the Wrightsville Police Department. They assured me that everything was under control. This situation had nothing to do with our school system or our students. This is a situation that occurred in Treutlen County and did not involve anyone from our school. “
Morris said the district would view the forfeit as a victory for Johnson County.
Harris’ mother Vickie Arline told WXGA that she also thinks the game’s cancellation has something to do with her son’s murder, which the sheriff’s office gave him little information. It wasn’t until news broke that the game was canceled that someone from the Treutlen County Sheriff’s Office told Arline that the shooting was gang related.
Arline told WXGA her son is not in a gang. So far no one has been arrested in his death.
Arline said she hopes the cancellation of the football game will make her son’s murder a priority for the county.
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