Horseplay Leads To Lawsuit in Kentucky

The mother of a junior firefighter who was shot in the eye with a BB gun in the fire station has filed suit against the fire department and three firefighters.

David Blake Jones suffered a permanent eye injury on October 25, 2014 when he was shot while on a sleep-over at the Laurel County Fire Department. Jones was participating in the Laurel County Junior Firefighter Program at the time.

Vickie Jones filed the suit on April 6 in Laurel Circuit Court naming the Laurel County Fire Department, Chief Rodney Gay, Lieutenant Trevor Allen, and firefighter Austin Prewitt.

The suit accuses Prewitt of bringing a CO2 powered BB gun into the fire station and shooting the victim in an act characterized as being “horseplay”. Chief Gay and Lieutenant Allen were reportedly responsible for supervising the junior program event.

According to the complaint:

  • “The defendant, Austin Prewitt, then proceeded to shoot [David Blake Jones] with the weapon.”
  • “In the process of shooting [Jones], Prewitt chased him upstairs.”
  • “Chief Rodney Gay and Lieutenant Trevor Allen never took any action to prevent Prewitt from engaging in such reckless activity or to stop such reckless activity once it began.”
  • “During the relevant time, Chief Rodney Gay and Lieutenant Trevor Allen did not take any steps to supervise and/or protect the minor in their custody and control.”

The complaint alleges that Jones’ injuries are permanent and may prevent him from working in certain fields.

Here is more on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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