Student dies after being shot in car

CONYERS - A Newton High School senior was shot and killed early Sunday morning while riding home in a vehicle with four other teenagers, according to the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office.

The victim was identified as Terrence J. (T.J.) Dorsey, 17, of 25 Lantana Lane in Covington.

According to a press release from the RCSO, five males - all 18 years of age and younger - were traveling east on Interstate 20 and had just entered Rockdale County from DeKalb County about 1:45 a.m.

A 16-year-old sitting in the back seat of a silver GMC Suburban was handling a 9 mm pistol that he believed had the safety engaged. However, the gun discharged, striking Dorsey in the back, the release said.

The 17-year-old driver drove to Rockdale Medical Center, where the victim later died.

The suspect, whose name is being withheld due to his status as a juvenile but whose address was listed in Conyers, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and is being held at the Gwinnett County Juvenile Detention Center.

Sheriff Jeff Wigington said investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved in the incident, although he said additional charges may be forthcoming based on curfew violations.

Sherri Viniard, public relations director with the Newton County School System, would not confirm the boy's identity "out of respect for the family," but did say "students and employees were informed of the boy's death this morning and observed a moment of silence in his memory."

Viniard said additional counselors were at school Monday morning to meet with any students or employees needing assistance.

Aimee Jones can be reached at aimee.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.