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GS parent not satisfied with response to football player’s role in shotgun incident
Jessie Liptrot

An incident involving a shotgun blast that apparently came from the apartment of a Georgia Southern University football player resulted in him being suspended from part of a game and made to move. It also has a university student’s mother concerned about her daughter’s safety.

No one was injured in the incident.

Jessie Liptrot, a senior defensive back from Atlantic Beach, Florida, was not charged in the incident but was suspended for one quarter in a recent football game for “team policy violations,” said a GS spokesperson.

Also, Liptrot reportedly moved to another building in the apartment complex at the behest of the apartment complex’s management, according to Melissa Griner of Rincon, whose daughter’s apartment was damaged by the gunfire.

She said her daughter, who lives on the fourth floor at 111 South Apartments, found damage to her closet floor a little less than two weeks ago and, thinking it was a maintenance issue, reported it to apartment staff.

But when her roommate called and said the maintenance man brought police to her apartment, Griner’s daughter learned he had found a 20-gauge shotgun slug in the closet floor.

Griner said her daughter found sawdust and shattered baseboard, with “wood chips all over her clothes,” and thought it might have been a water pipe or electrical issue, which is why she reported it to maintenance and not police.

Statesboro police Detective Sgt. Patrick Haralson said police investigated and questioned Liptrot and other GS players, who lived in the third floor apartment below. However, it was not determined when the slug was fired, or by whom. No firearm was located, and no charges were filed, he said.

According to Jennifer Wise, director of communications for Georgia Southern, there were three Eagle players questioned, but no arrests or charges resulted.

“Jessie Liptrot was suspended for the first quarter of the Coastal Carolina football game (on Oct. 19) for a violation of team rules,” she said, but did not specify the violation.

Griner said GS Athletic Director Tom Kleinlein told her husband a paintball gun was found in Liptrot’s apartment, but no shotgun.

Liptrot is a redshirt senior who, after sitting out his first season, has become a consistent presence in the Eagles' defensive secondary. He started 15 games during his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons, but was used as a backup at both cornerback and safety last fall. Liptrot has remained in that role this season, making appearances in all seven games.

Over his career at Georgia Southern, Liptrot has recorded 51 tackles and has two interceptions. Also, he has recorded five pass breakups, including one so far this season.


Special treatment

Griner said she is concerned about her daughter’s safety. She said she asked Meredith Edge, apartment manager for 111 South on Rucker Lane, to move Liptrot and his roommates. At first, Edge refused to take any action, but then offered for her daughter to move, she said.

However, later, Griner received information that Liptrot would be moved.

“Per an email sent to us (Oct.18), the 111 South office manager stated, ‘We are force transferring the resident to another building on the property and he has complied. The transfer is expected to be completed by (Oct. 21),’” Griner said.

Griner said Monday she could not confirm whether Liptrot had moved. Edge also would not clarify whether Liptrot had been moved, but in an emailed statement to the Herald, she said, “Our lease does not allow firearms on the property. No firearms were found by the Statesboro Police Department or property management, therefore there was no lease violation. However, in the interest of everyone’s well-being, we accommodated transfers as they were requested. “

Griner, however, believes the evidence that a shotgun was in Liptrot’s apartment is clear, because the 111 South maintenance man and police located damage in Liptrot’s ceiling that was consistent with the damage in her daughter’s closet floor.

“Three feet over was her bed,” she said. If the shot had been in another direction or proximity, “someone could have been hurt or killed.”

Griner also found it alarming that no one who was involved in the shot being fired, even if it was accidental, ever called police or notified the apartment manager or Griner’s daughter, she said.

“Someone could have been shot” and been injured with no help on the way.

After learning of the incident, her husband called the GS president’s office, Kleinlein’s office and others in an effort to learn more about the case. The only person to return calls was Kleinlein, she said, adding that she was dissatisfied with what she believes is a “slap on the wrist” disciplinary action against Liptrot.


Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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