Man and boy wounded in shooting at New Jersey high school football game

Police stand near empty grandstands at a high school in New Jersey.
Police investigate after a gunman shot into a crowd of people during a high school football game in Pleasantville, N.J., on Friday.
(Ahmad Austin / Associated Press)

Players and spectators ran for cover Friday night when a gunman opened fire at a New Jersey high school football game, wounding two people.

A man and a juvenile were seriously injured after a gunman shot into a crowd of people who sat in the bleachers at Pleasantville High School, said Pleasantville Police Chief Sean Riggins.

The shooting happened about 8:30 p.m. EST during a playoff game between the Camden Panthers and the Pleasantville Greyhounds, Riggins said. Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner told The Associated Press the shooting took place on the Pleasantville side of the bleachers.

Riggins did not identify the man or the child who were shot, but said they were working with their families to make sure they received the medical attention they need. Riggins said they are both still alive. Tyner said the male child was flown to a children’s hospital in Philadelphia.


A witness to the shooting, Jonathan Diego, an alumnus of both Pleasantville High School and its football team, said he saw a man apply pressure to a “little boy’s wounds” to slow the bleeding right after the gunfire.

“It was mayhem,” he said. “A wave of people coming away from the shooting. You saw parents holding their babies and their little children to make sure that they weren’t injured.”

Earlier reports from local media had said an unidentified woman was carried out the stands on a stretcher and onto the field by paramedics while they waited for another ambulance to arrive.


“We are receiving information regarding exactly what happened and who is involved however obviously this is an ongoing investigation and at this time we are not prepared to release any information on that,” Riggins said during a short news conference following the shooting.

A statement from the Camden City School District said no Camden High School students “were injured or otherwise harmed.”

Pleasantville is about seven miles (11 kilometers) west of Atlantic City.


Videos posted to Twitter show people hitting the ground, running from the bleachers and jumping over chain-link fences as the gunfire erupted. At least six gunshots are audible in a video posted by Jersey Sports Zone, which also shows players stop mid-play, look at the stands and then turn and run.

“I heard the gunshots,” Pleasantville football player Ernest Howard, 17, said in a Twitter clip posted by a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter. “We started all running for this fence and tried to run inside the gym.”

In a news conference after the shooting, Tyner referenced a Thursday shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, where a 16-year-old boy killed two students and wounded three others. The shooter died Friday.

“This is a tragic situation, to say the least, on the heels of what just happened in Santa Clarita, California,” Tyner said. “It has hit home here in Pleasantville, New Jersey, and it is very disturbing, to say the least.”