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Family: 1 killed, 3 injured in shooting at Alabama funeral

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 6:47 PM CDT
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FORT DEPOSIT, Ala. (WSFA) - A family had its grief compounded many times over Saturday while attending a burial service in Fort Deposit, located about 35 miles south of Montgomery.

It started in the Fort Deposit Cemetery in Lowndes County where family and friends were in the process of saying their goodbyes to James Gipson, a man who recently died of cancer.

Shots rang out at the funeral for James Gipson, who was being remembered in a Fort Deposit...
Shots rang out at the funeral for James Gipson, who was being remembered in a Fort Deposit cemetery.

“It’s very strange. It’s like something that you would see happening in a movie,” said Patrina Gipson, who is still in shock. “They went to shooting. Everybody hit the ground,” she said.

For the Gipson family, it felt like hell had surfaced from below.

Patrina Gipson (L) and Inett Jackson Lewis (R) were attending a funeral when a vehicle with...
Patrina Gipson (L) and Inett Jackson Lewis (R) were attending a funeral when a vehicle with four people pulled up and started firing. Four people were shot, one fatally.

“No one intended or expected anything like this to happen,” said Inett Jackson Lewis.

Family members say they were just steps away from lowering their loved one’s body into the ground when a vehicle with four people inside drove into the cemetery and whipped around with loud music blaring.

Patrina Gipson said there were around 60 people in attendance of the funeral when the suspects drove up.

“They were asked to turn the music down. Basically, it instigated from there. A lot of cussing and profanity that went on,” she explained.

She remembers hearing around 8 or 9 shots. Four people were hit including, Patrina’s brother.

Jerry Lee Gipson was fatal shot while attending a funeral in a Fort Deposit cemetery. Three...
Jerry Lee Gipson was fatal shot while attending a funeral in a Fort Deposit cemetery. Three others were injured.

“He was shot over that way,” she said gesturing about 20 yards in the distance.

According to the family, 47-year-old Jerry Lee Gipson died on the cemetery grounds.

“That’s what we all don’t understand. We’re still trying to figure that part out,” said Jackson Lewis.

The remaining three victims, a mix of relatives and a family friend, are expected to recover.

Fort Deposit police tell WSFA 12 News their investigation continues and indicated they would call a news conference this week on the shootings.

The Gipson family, along with friends, gathered around James Gipson’s grave and prayed.

“Thank you Lord for this opportunity. Let your will be done,” said Jackson Lewis.

Now, the family is planning another funeral, another burial, another round of grief.

Meantime, their journey for justice has started.

Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.