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World & Nation

Shooting wounds two, causes panic at high school football game in New Jersey

High school football game shooting
Police investigate the scene after a gunman shot into a crowd of people during a football game at Pleasantville High School in Pleasantville, N.J.
(Edward Lea / Press of Atlantic City [N.J.])

A gunman opened fire at a New Jersey high school football game, wounding two people and touching off “mayhem” as fans and players frantically ran for cover.

One of those wounded Friday night was a young boy, who was airlifted to a children’s hospital in Philadelphia “with some serious injuries,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said. The other was a man.

Panicked spectators and some of the players knocked down a fence in their haste to escape the confines of the field. Some children were separated from their parents, and other parents held babies and young children tight to keep them from being run over by those fleeing, according to Jonathan Diego, who was at the game in Pleasantville, near Atlantic City.

“It was mayhem, literally people coming in waves running away,” said Diego. In a grim coincidence, Diego said he was a coach of a Pleasantville youth football team that was involved in a game where three people were shot and wounded in 2005. All survived. That same team was practicing in 2015 when a spectator was shot but survived.

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Friday’s shooting happened at about 8:30 p.m. during the third quarter of a playoff game between the Camden Panthers and the Pleasantville Greyhounds. The stands were packed to watch the Greyhounds, who won their first division title in 43 years this season.

Authorities had not identified the victims or released information about their conditions several hours after the shooting.

No one had been arrested as of late Friday, and authorities were investigating whether more than one shooter might have been involved.

Diego said his friend, a retired paramedic, gave first aid to a young boy who was shot.

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“He applied pressure to the little boy’s wounds on his neck, trying to slow down the bleeding until the ambulance could come up,” Diego said.

The wounded boy was flown by helicopter to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The adult victim was taken to AtlanticCare Regional Medical Center in nearby Atlantic City.

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

In a news conference, Tyner referenced a Thursday shooting at a Southern California high school, where a 16-year-old boy killed two students and wounded three others. The shooter died Friday.


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