Five people were arrested in connection to a shooting at a New Jersey high school football game Friday night that left three people wounded.
One of the suspects, Alvin Wyatt, faces charges of attempted murder, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced in a press release Saturday.
Players and spectators ran for cover when a gunman opened fire around 8:30 p.m. Friday during the third quarter of a Pleasantville Greyhounds football game against the Camden Panthers in Pleasantville, said Pleasantville Police Chief Sean Riggins.
A 10-year-old child was injured in the shooting and is hospitalized in critical condition, Tyner said. A 15-year-old boy suffered a graze wound and was treated at the hospital and released.
A man, 27, was shot and is in stable condition but will require surgery, according to the prosecutor.
Along with Wyatt, police arrested Michael Mack, 27; Tyrell Dorn, 28; Shahid Dixon, 27; and Vance Golden, 26. All of the suspects are from Atlantic City, except for Golden who is from Pleasantville.
They face charges of unlawful possession of a weapon and certain persons not to possess a weapon. Dixon is also charged with eluding.
The shooting led panicked spectators and some of the players to knock down a fence in their haste to escape the confines of the field.
"It was mayhem, literally people coming in waves running away" said Jonathan Diego, who played for the Pleasantville team in 1984. Diego helped coach a Pleasantville youth football team involved in a game against an Atlantic City team in which three spectators were shot and wounded in 2005. All three survived.
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That same team was practicing in 2015 when a spectator was shot, but survived.
"Unfortunately, around here it's not as uncommon as it sounds," Diego said.
He described a panicked scene as some children were separated from their parents, and other parents held babies and young children tight to keep them from being run over by fleeing spectators.
Diego said his friend, a retired paramedic, gave first aid to a young boy who had suffered a gunshot wound to the neck.
"He applied pressure to the little boy's wounds on his neck, trying to slow down the bleeding until the ambulance could come up," he said.
After the shooting, Tyner said four of the suspects fled in a vehicle into Atlantic City, which is about seven miles east of Pleasantville. While fleeing, a person in the car tossed a gun out of the window.
Tyner said the shooting "had nothing to do" with students from Pleasantville or Camden high schools.
"The venue simply presented an opportunity for criminals to pursue their own form of petty vengeance against one another. As a result, an innocent child was caught and injured in their crossfire, he said in a statement. "Our community will not be held hostage by a few idiots intent on jeopardizing our safety and the safety of our children."
A statement from the Camden City School District said no Camden High School students “were injured or otherwise harmed.”
Pleasantville's high school team won its first division title in 43 years this season, and the stands were packed.
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 press 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.
"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."