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Georgia Southern student shot, killed
Friend faces manslaughter charges
Coleton Weatherford

A Georgia Southern student was shot and killed early Wednesday morning and a friend faces involuntary manslaughter – felony charges in connection with his death, according to Chief Deputy Jared Akins with the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office.

Bulloch patrol deputies responded to reports of a shooting at 2:20 Wednesday morning to a residence on Planters Lane in Statesboro, where they found 20-year-old Blake Shurling of Tennille, Ga., deceased at the residence.

After processing the scene and conducting multiple interviews, Coleton Weatherford, 20, of Planters Lane was taken into custody and charged with involuntary manslaughter – felony, reckless conduct and discharging a firearm while under the influence.

In a release, Akins said, Shurling and Weatherford were “well-acquainted” with each other and both were students at Georgia Southern.

Akins said alcohol is believed to have played a significant factor in the incident.   

Weatherford remains at the Bulloch County Jail pending further judicial hearings.  

Georgia Southern officials released a statement about the shooting:

“The Georgia Southern University community is saddened to learn of an off-campus incident that resulted in the accidental shooting death of one of our students, Blake Kenneth Shurling. The Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office notified Georgia Southern police that they are investigating. Our thoughts are with the friends and families during this time. Counseling is available for our students as we all grieve this tragedy.”

Anyone with further information on this case should contact Cpt. Todd Hutchens at (912) 764-1787 or submit an anonymous tip to  


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