Southern Miss student Blake Ballard is in critical but stable condition after he was transported to the hospital yesterday due to what appeared to be an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the thigh.
Ballard is a junior from Brandon. Although he is in critical but stable condition, the prognosis for his recovery is good.
Around 4:40 p.m. yesterday, University Police activated the Eagle Alert system to inform students of the incident. The second message issued said there was no threat to campus.
David Tisdale, University Communications reporter, said Ballard is not in violation of state law for possessing a gun since he is 21 years or older and has taken additional gun safety courses.
“Because of the student having taken enhanced safety courses for his gun, he will not be subject to any felony charges from the state,” Tisdale said. “As for USM, there are campus ordinances that do not permit guns on campus.”
University Police have not been able to speak with Ballard because of his condition, but are still considering the self-inflicted shooting an accident. The type of gun Ballard had with him has not yet been released.
A female freshman student reported finding Ballard on the ground beside a silver Jeep. She said he appeared to be breathing but was unconscious. She immediately alerted authorities and authorities were dispatched to the scene.
The silver Jeep Ballard was found by was later identified as the victim’s and was removed from the scene.
The incident occurred on Championship Boulevard between The District and Highway 49.
Tisdale said the university’s main focus right now is to provide support for Ballard and his family during his recovery.
There is still an active investigation underway.