Safety is focus for Blackman’s graduation at MTSU

18-year-old Sunny Gant was shot and killed at high school graduation.
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 8:33 PM CDT
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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WSMV) - Safety was the focus as another Rutherford County high school prepared to hold its graduation ceremonies at MTSU’s Murphy Center on Thursday night.

Faculty, staff and students from Blackman High School had rehearsals on Thursday morning prior to graduation ceremony later in the night, the day after a former Riverdale student was shot and killed after an altercation outside Murphy Center as attendees were leaving the Riverdale High School graduation.

Faculty and staff’s focus will be split between celebrating a special milestone for the seniors and their safety.

“It hits close to home,” Blackman JROTC instructor James Hart said after Thursday’s rehearsal. “We’re all coming out to celebrate the graduating class and we’re all here for the graduating call, and you hate to hear that on the day of graduation for another school to have to go through that type of event.”

According to Murfreesboro Police, a 17-year-old shot and killed Hasani (Sunny) Brewer-Gant and injured a 17-year-old at the tennis courts next to Murphy Center on Wednesday night as Riverdale High graduates and supporters left the arena. The 17-year-old suspect was arrested on Thursday.

Blackman seniors walked the same stage just one day later.

“It’s quite tragic,” Blackman senior Carlissa Sanders said.

Those seniors left graduation rehearsal Thursday morning with plans to keep their heads on a swivel.

“I’m not really more nervous than I was, but I am going to keep an eye out and watch my surroundings more than I would before that happened.”

A spokesman for Rutherford County Schools confirmed more law enforcement will be staffing Blackman’s graduation.

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