A Bowling Green man who was arrested in a 2016 Kereiakes Park shooting days before he was to leave for college was released from prison Monday.
Cameron Buckner was granted parole in June and released from Northpoint Training Center, said his mother, Kendra Buckner.
“I just want people to know that he’s on the right track and more than anything all he needs around him is positivity and encouragement because he’s got a bright future ahead of him, I have no doubt about that,” Kendra Buckner said.
At the time of his release, Cameron Buckner, 22, had served nearly four years of a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to a count of second-degree assault, which stemmed from the shooting of Mason South on Aug. 9, 2016, at Kereiakes Park.
Cameron Buckner was arrested by the Bowling Green Police Department, which determined Buckner and South had gotten into an argument over which of their respective high schools had the better football team.
South, who was 19 at the time of the incident, was shot in the head at point-blank range after the argument became physical, court records said.
Until his arrest, Cameron Buckner was set to enroll at Kentucky Wesleyan College and play on the football team, having just graduated from South Warren High School.
Authorities charged Buckner with multiple offenses, though he went on to plead guilty to a single count of second-degree assault and accept a 10-year prison sentence.
Buckner had the support of several relatives and community members at his court appearances.
After he was sentenced, Cameron Buckner twice requested through his attorney, Matt Baker, to be freed on shock probation, a form of early release available to certain first-time offenders.
Both his shock probation motions, which were filed in 2017 in Warren Circuit Court, were ultimately denied, although South voiced support for Buckner’s release when he made his second request.
“More than anything, I want to put this issue to rest, once and for all,” South said in a sworn affidavit. “I am very thankful to be alive, and I do not want Cameron to be locked up any longer ... I would like to be friends with Cameron in the future, and I would like to continue to live in this community with him without any hard feelings.”
Kendra Buckner said her son is exercising and is looking for a job, with ambitions toward eventually enrolling in college.
“We waited for this day for almost four years,” Kendra Buckner said. “We just want him to be respected as an individual who is making changes in his life and who has moved forward. I don’t want that situation to define the man who he is.”
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.