Lee County Sheriff’s Office to receive foldable AR-15 rifles

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 5:56 AM CDT
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - Its been one week since the lives of 19 children and two adults were cut short in a cold-blooded mass shooting at a Texas elementary school. Here at home - new calls for action as the first funeral services are beginning for those victims in Uvalde, Texas.

Meantime, law enforcement in one east Alabama community taking steps to make sure people and officers are protected. Lee County’s sheriff went before the county commission to ask for more weapons.

Sheriff Jay Jones says these weapons will help insure his deputies are not out-gunned should they find themselves in a similar situation.

It was a tragedy that rocked the nation and the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. A week ago, 19 children and two teachers were killed during a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The chaos erupted two days before the end of the school year.

With the potential for tragedies like that to happen in vulnerable communities like Lee County, Sheriff Jones says he wants to ensure he and his deputies are more than prepared to respond.

”I couldn’t do nothing but throw up my hands and call on the name of Jesus,” said Beauregard resident Margaret Wimberly. “I felt so sorry for those babies and those families because I have grandchildren of my own.”

Wimberly, a grandparent, says she wouldn’t have known what to do if her grandchildren were inside that school. Police say an 18 year old terrorized and killed students and teachers for more than an hour before law enforcement entered the room and killed him.

”It shouldn’t have been that long,” said Wimberly. “Not long at all because of the fact that they should’ve known that these babies were being murdered.”

In the aftermath of that tragedy, Sheriff Jay Jones went before the Lee County Commission with a request to ensure his deputies are prepared to respond quickly to tragedies like school shootings. With a $42,000 bid, Sheriff Jones asked the commission to approve the bid to purchase at least 20 foldable AR-15 rifles. Currently, Lee County deputies carry riffles while on patrol.

”Patrol rifles are generally are in the vehicles with the deputies when they’re in the vehicles and this will allow them to have them in circumstances where vehicles may not be easily accessible,” said Sheriff Jones.

He also outlined how they would use the weapons.

”It could be for different circumstances where we have what we refer to as special details -- unique operations that we conduct in the public.”

Sheriff Jones say he hopes his office will receive those weapons within the next few weeks, depending on availability.

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