New information has emerged about how three suspects were able to enter the Ladd-Peebles sports and entertainment complex with a gun.
Sources told Lagniappe that stadium video footage shows that after three suspicious teenagers left the facility to retrieve a gun from a vehicle, they passed a resting policeman sitting in his car outside the gate and entered through the main doors where there was no security personnel to control them.
The incident violates Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) security protocols which the system says calls for admission to be closed during the third trimester of a football game and no one has granted any readmission.
The newspaper contacted the mobile police department to request confirmation of the security footage. A spokesperson for the MPD provided the newspaper with the following statement:
âLadd-Peebles Stadium and the MCPSS are responsible for the security of the stadium. Because access to Ladd is through a public entrance, MPD is responsible for patrolling the roads surrounding the stadium.
âLadd and MCPSS control security, which means they are responsible for hiring security guards and assigning their duties. Some of the security guards that are hired are off-duty MPD officers and some may be from other law enforcement agencies. “
Shots were halted in the fourth quarter of the Vigor-Williamson game on October 15 at Ladd-Peebles, sending spectators and players to scatter for cover. Five victims were injured in the incident – two are still hospitalized. The suspects have been identified as Jai Scott, 19, of Semmes, and Tibiasz Houston, 17, of Mobile, both arrested and charged with five counts of attempted murder. A third suspect, 19-year-old Hezekiah Belfon, is believed to be the shooter and is still at large. He is considered armed and dangerous. University of Troy football player Reggie Todd, 24, of Mobile, was arrested in Troy on Tuesday afternoon for obstructing law enforcement investigation.
Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Wright told Lagniappe the DA’s office had information that the incident was sparked by an altercation between those involved two weeks earlier. Wright said the metal detectors were removed from their posts when the suspects returned to the game.
At a press conference on Monday, October 18, the head of the mobile police service, Paul Prine, was asked about the details of the security breach. He referred any questions about the security protocol to the Mobile Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS).
MCPSS communications director Rena Philips told Lagniappe the school system spent $ 100,000 on metal detectors two years ago. She said the security equipment provided at football games is a measure “above and beyond” the security provided by Ladd and that the system contracts out to King Security Service to operate them.
According to Philips, it is common practice for metal detectors to be removed at some point during the third quarter of a football match. She said the doors are supposed to be closed from that point on and no readmission should be allowed. She asked Ladd-Stadium officials why readmission was allowed. Philips provided the newspaper with the school board’s contract with the site, which says security personnel are at the discretion of the stadium’s general manager.
The county school system is paying $ 4,500 per game to use the Ladd-Peebles complex as a home stadium for four of its high schools – Murphy, Williamson, Vigo and LeFlore. The school system does not commit to a specific number of games. The contract for the use of the facility was signed in July.
Ladd-Peebles Sports and Entertainment Board chair Ann Davis told the newspaper the venue “did everything it was supposed to do.” She pointed to an 18-point safety guideline the MCPSS developed after the 2019 shootout that left nine people injured in a football game.
Ladd Stadium Contract Board approved July 26, 2021