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Football players raising money are held at gunpoint by jailer’s wife, Arkansas cops say

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An Arkansas jail administrator’s wife pulled a gun and forced four high school players to the ground while they were door-to-door fundraising, media outlets report.

The four Wynne High School students walked a neighborhood in the small town in eastern Arkansas last Wednesday morning to sell discount cards to raise money for the athletics program, KAIT reported.

As they walked up a driveway, a woman holding a gun came out of the house, forced them to the ground, and told them to spread their legs and put their hands behind their backs, one of the teenagers told WREG. Two of the players had football jerseys on, and they tried to explain that they were fundraising, the teen told the Memphis TV station.

Police say the woman was still standing over the teens with a gun when they arrived at the scene, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The football players then told officers that they were fundraising, the newspaper reported.

On Monday, Jerri Kelly, 46, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child, according to KAIT.

Kelly is the wife of the county’s jail administrator, WMC reported. A mugshot of Kelly wasn’t available online because she was having a “medical issue” when booked into jail, Cross County Sheriff David West told WMC.

“I’m professional. My department is professional,” West told the Memphis TV station. “There was no special treatment. She went through the steps just like any other person would.”

Meanwhile, the school district is considering changing its fundraising policies after the incident, WREG reported.

“We intend to review all methods of fundraising used by school groups in grades K-12 to (ensure) the safety of our children,” Superintendent Carl Easley said in a statement to WREG.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.
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