Woman left disabled in deadly shooting at high school football game sues DCPS

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

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“She witnesses a brutal murder and is shot herself,” said Khlayah Wright’s attorney Robert Spohrer. Spohrer says Wright had just turned 16 when she was hit by a stray bullet as the football game started. He says the team has filed a lawsuit against DCPS police for failing to provide adequate security for the students during the game.

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“Khlayah has had surgery on her injury, she has been declared disabled,” he said. Spohrer says a jury in July was unable to rule on Wright’s original complaint.

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In August, a DCPS nationwide jury criticized police for underreporting crimes in schools — with more than 2,000 alleged crimes going unreported from 2016 to 2019. The report specifically mentions former school police chief Michael Edwards, and now the lawsuit does too.

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

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

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

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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 contacted DCPS for comment on the matter. We’ll update this story if we get a response.

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