Tragedy struck Long County twice Saturday as two 7-year-old Smiley Elementary students died.
About 11 a.m., Long County authorities responded to a report of a shooting at Twin Oaks Mobile Home Park. Upon arrival, officers learned of a boy who had been shot in the chest. According to earlier reports, the boy was shot with a handgun by the stepfather.
The man then raced the child to Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville, where the child was pronounced dead.
The child and stepfather’s names have not been released. According to Long County Sheriff’s Capt. Nickey Anderson, the incident is under investigation by his office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Later on Saturday, Hannah Marie Foreman drowned in the Altamaha River, according to Wayne County Sheriff John Carter.
He said his deputies and a Wayne County EMS unit responded to the report at the Jaycee Landing off Highway 84, where the river is the Long/Wayne county line. Carter said the deputies found the 7-year-old unconscious.
The sheriff said the child had been swimming with her family when she was apparently sucked under by the current and unable to recover. Her grandfather got to her and brought her to the bank. Family members and EMTs could not revive her.
The shock of the events is being felt in the community.
Long County Board of Education Chairman Dempsey Golden said, “On behalf of the school board and our entire school system, we offer our condolences to these families and will pray for them during this difficult time. This is a horrible tragedy for our community … Though much of our staff is off for the summer break, if the families of the victims need any counseling or support for siblings, our school system will make arrangements to assist the families.”