The uncle of a Mississippi high school football player has been charged with aggravated assault following a shooting Friday that has left the 17-year-old hospitalized.
The shooting occurred at about 4 p.m. on Mississippi 397 North near the Winston County line, Kemper County Sheriff James Moore said.
Frederick Nunn, 38, was charged in the incident, Moore said. The sheriff confirmed the 17-year-old, whom he declined to identify, had been shot multiple times. He was taken to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
“He has a ways to go,” Moore said Saturday. “When we last checked, he was responding but he’s on a ventilator. The ventilator’s not actually doing all of the work, though. It’s helping him breathe at this point.”
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Nanih Waiya High School football Coach James Courtney identified the player as rising sophomore outside linebacker De Welch.
On Saturday, Courtney called Welch’s condition “critical but stable.”
“I was and am still broken over it. My son is friends, teammates and in the same grade as De. So needless to say that it’s been rough.”
The sheriff said the uncle and nephew had been installing an air conditioner on Friday before they got into an argument. A short time later, the shooting occurred.
“Based off of what we know right now, there’s been an ongoing battle between the uncle and the nephew,” Moore said. “I don’t think they care that much for each other.”
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The coach said he and his staff are keeping Welch in their thoughts and prayers since they can’t visit him in the hospital due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyone at our school loves De as do I. He has always worked extremely hard at football and is a very intelligent young man.”
In four games played last season, Welch collected 14 total tackles for the Warriors as a freshman. He also took snaps on offense, rushing for 14 yards on two carries, according to MaxPreps.
Courtney said the young man’s family is also in their prayers. “I want them to know that whatever they need of us, if we can provide it, we are here for them and are praying for them.”