Freak Accident

"There were just so many things that it could probably never be duplicated in a thousand years."

Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cobler is talking about Sunday afternoon's incident. Around 4:30 he says emergency personnel responded to a call at the Hat Shack in Bonita Lakes Mall. Upon arrival he says they found shopper on the floor of the store suffering from severe head trauma.

"Somehow he fell, accidentally was pushed or something against one of their hat racks and one of the pins went in just above his left ear and penetrated the brain, so it was just a freak accident!"

Killed in the accident was 22-year-old Arthur Timms, Jr. of the Long Creek Community. Also known as A.J. Timms, he was a 2001 graduate Southeast High School.

According to a preliminary investigation the pin involved was about six inches long. Of that, medical responders say all but an inch penetrated the skull.

Meanwhile, as for whether or not any charges will be filed, Meridian police are looking into the matter.

"We're too early into the case to speculate which way it will go."

As for the mall's response, "We just want to say first and foremost that our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends. Also, we want our shoppers to know that their safety is our first and most important priority of the mall," says Jana Kuner with Bonita Lakes Mall.

With investigators calling the ordeal a "freak accident," the Hat Shack reopened for business Monday. However, mall officials say with the investigation ongoing it's unknown at this time if the store will close temporarily.


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