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College baseball player shot and wounded by stray bullet during game in Texas, police say

The 18-year-old Texas A&M-Texarkana player was hit while standing in the bullpen area by what police said appeared to be a stray bullet from a nearby altercation.

Authorities have one person in custody and an arrest warrant out for another after the two allegedly shot a gun that fired a stray bullet that struck a college baseball player for Texas A&M-Texarkana in the middle of a game, according to local police and the university.

The 18-year-old player was wounded at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday as he was standing in the bullpen area at the game against the University of Houston–Victoria at George Dobson Field at Spring Lake Park in Texarkana, on the border of Arkansas, Texarkana police said on Facebook.

The bullet appeared to come from "some type of altercation in a nearby neighborhood to the west of the park," police said.

Texarkana Texas Police Dept. officers respond after a Texas A&M-Arkana baseball player was shot during a game on April 29, 2023.
Texarkana police officers respond after a Texas A&M-Texarkana baseball player was shot during a game Saturday.Texarkana Texas Police Dept.

Police believe Demarco Banks, 20, and a 17-year-old boy are the shooters, Texarkana police spokesperson Shawn Vaughn said Monday. NBC News is not naming the 17-year-old suspect because he is a minor.

Banks, who Vaughn said was allegedly shooting away from the park, turned himself in early Monday on a felony deadly conduct charge. Police have an outstanding felony warrant for aggravated assault out for the other suspect, who allegedly shot toward the park, Vaughn said.

If they are convicted, Banks could face up to 10 years in prison for the deadly conduct charge, and the minor could face up to 20 years for the aggravated assault charge, Vaughn said.

Banks is being held on $100,000 bond, Vaughn said. It was not immediately clear whether he has a lawyer.

Police said they received several calls of shots fired on Lynda Street, just west of Spring Lake Park, around the time they received the call about the baseball player's being shot. Officers who went to the scene on Lynda Street found "several spent shell casings" in the front yard of a residence there and determined they were from two men who had been shooting at each other in front of the house, Vaughn said.

"One of those errant rounds traveled about 400 yards and struck the innocent victim at the ball field," Vaughn said Monday, adding that the alleged shooter and Banks allegedly "fled the area before officers got there."

Vaughn did not have more information immediately available about what led officers to identify Banks and the other person as the suspects.

Officers also arrested three other men — Yankeengea Smith, 49; Nathan Moore, 19; and Marcell Beaver, 19 — at the scene Saturday on other charges, Vaughn said, adding that authorities "don't believe the other three were directly involved with the gunfight."

The baseball player, whose identity has not been released, was stable Saturday night at Christus St. Michael Hospital, the university said on social media. The police department said in its announcement Saturday night that he was going into surgery.

Leigh Strope, a spokesperson for Christus Health, said in an email Sunday afternoon that the player remained stable and that the hospital could not provide more information because of patient privacy laws.

A representative for the university could not immediately be reached for comment.

The game was declared "no contest," the university's athletics department tweeted Sunday, and a pair of softball games the university's team had been scheduled to play at Louisiana State University of Alexandria on Sunday were canceled "due to the events surrounding yesterday’s baseball game," the athletics department said.

CORRECTION (April 30, 2023, 6:30 p.m. ET): A photo caption on a previous version of this article misspelled the name of the college the victim plays for. It is Texas A&M-Texarkana, not Texas A&M-Arkana.