An Alabama man was arrested and charged with shooting Phillip Jones, the brother of Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, on Tuesday afternoon, according to Gulf Shores police records.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained the arrest report, which indicates George Bennett Sutton, 53, shot and severely injured Jones after an altercation at a local home. Jones, 31, was taken to an urgent care facility nearby before being transported to two additional hospitals to treat his injuries.
A relative told Jessie Miller of Fox10tv.com that Jones' arm had to be removed as a result of the shooting. There was no word on Jones' health otherwise. Sutton was charged with felony assault in the first degree. Alabama law states that Sutton could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $30,000 if a judge orders the maximum penalty.
Sutton has not entered a plea at this time.
There is no word at this time for the motivation of the alleged shooting. Police were not able to determine much beyond the location of the crime, and Ledbetter indicated the investigation is still ongoing as authorities attempt to gather evidence.
Julio Jones, 25, is currently away from the Falcons during organized team activities as he recovers from a foot injury. Jones made 41 receptions for 580 yards and two touchdowns in just five games before fracturing his right foot and undergoing season-ending surgery. He has largely been limited and was expected to be absent from the voluntary workouts.
"Julio is participating with our athletic performance department,'' Falcons head coach Mike Smith told reporters in April. "He will be able to get out on the field and do some walkthrough stuff with us when we start going. Our focus on Julio is one thing, and that's having him prepared for our opener."
The Falcons are also without wide receiver Roddy White, whose younger brother, Tyrone Moore Jr., was shot and killed after an altercation at a nightclub. As noted by Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, the funeral for Moore was held last Thursday and the Falcons did not expect the four-time Pro Bowler to participate in OTAs.
Team owner Arthur Blank has been recently quoted by reporters indicating he wants to keep Jones and White in Atlanta for the duration of their careers. White can become a free agent after next season, while Jones will hit the market in 2016. The Falcons, who went a disappointing 4-12 in 2013, are expected to compete for a playoff berth again should White and Jones return to full health.
Unfortunately, both players will also be mourning these tragic incidents involving their respective family members.
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