On Jan. 31, 2024, Hernando High Basketball player Aaron Laskey suffered a bullet wound to the torso. Just after 1 pm on Wednesday afternoon, the Hernando County Sheriff’s office dispatched deputies to Mariner’s Cay Apartment Complex on Ridgeline Lane in Spring Hill regarding the shooting. Once the victim, a male juvenile, was found at the residence, he was treated on scene for his gunshot wound by fire rescue personnel before being transported to a local trauma center.
According to a Feb. 1 press release by Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Public Relations Manager Denise Moloney, witnesses identified Thesani James as the person who shot Laskey. Following the shooting, it was stated that James, age 18, left the apartment complex in an Uber. Once deputies began the search for James, patrol deputies worked with school resource deputies to quickly identify James’ address. Upon learning he lived in the Bridgewater Club apartment complex off Commercial Way, deputies found James and placed him into custody.
Right away, James told deputies that the shooting was an accident. Laskey and James are friends and were playing video games together at the apartment when the shooting reportedly occurred. After removing the firearm from his backpack to show the victim, the gun was accidentally discharged while handling it. Upon firing, a bullet struck Laskey in the torso. Thesani reportedly “was unaware the firearm was loaded,” the release stated, and “he fled because he was scared.”
James was cooperative as he informed deputies of where the firearm was in his apartment and allowed the detectives inside to retrieve the weapon. Laskey also told deputies that the shooting was an accident before being transported from the premises. Once detectives took over the investigation, a pair of females who were present “just before the shooting occurred” told the detectives that the shooting was accidental as well. They reiterated the same sentiments previously stated by James and Laskey: that the two males were friends and playing video games together when the accident occurred.
Once Laskey had the opportunity to provide a statement to the detectives, he restated that the shooting was accidental yet again. Due to corroborating stories and evidence, the investigation revealed that the shooting was accidental and he did not do it purposefully or with malice. As a result, Thesani James was taken back to his residence after being released from custody and detectives are now working to determine the firearm’s origin, the release noted.
On Jan. 31, Assistant Dean of Students at Hernando High School Robin Ashworth Bailey made a post of support for Laskey on Facebook. “Stay strong… sending prayers,” Bailey wrote with a picture of Laskey underneath. As of the writing of this article, the post has already received 93 reactions and 27 comments in less than two days. The comments offered up prayers of healing and support for the athlete and his family. The Sun will continue to follow the situation and provide further information when it becomes available.