LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Parents brawled at a children's baseball game in Colorado, during a wild free-for-all captured on video, authorities said Wednesday.
Five men were cited for disorderly conduct and fighting in public after Saturday's melee on the field at Westgate Elementary School, and police are asking for the public's help to identify more of those involved.
"It's one of those things people like to gawk at, they like to `Oh my gosh, I can't believe that happened.' But it's serious. People were seriously hurt in this," Lakewood police spokesman John Romero told NBC News on Wednesday.
Police expect more arrest this week. The five men cited were 24, 26, 29, 46 and 55.
"You know, you have 7-year-olds playing a baseball game and it's the parents that need to grow up," Romero said.
The contest between teams of 7-year-olds from Lakewood and Bear Creek took a violent turn about 11:50 a.m. when some parents apparently became angry at the game's 13-year-old umpire.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
The young umpire had given warnings to both sets of parents for using foul language, the ump's family told Denver NBC affiliate KUSA. But then someone in the stands complained there were no ejections and that ignited fisticuffs.
The umpire "feels guilty he could not gain control of the situation and guilty that a ... coach is now in trouble for protecting him," a family member of the umpire wrote in a text message to KUSA.
The fist-throwing parents then "took over the field and began assaulting each other," police said in a statement.
The young players scrambled to get out of the way and avoided any injuries.
"These parents and coaches decided to take it out on each other," Romero told KUSA. "It's very sad, at the very beginning of the video, you can see kids running off the field as the adults start fighting and punching each other."
An adult wearing teal shorts appeared to land at least one blow on another man, who had his back turned and then appeared to crumple to the ground.
"We're looking for any information on this melee, but in particular the identity of the suspect in the white shirt and teal shorts," according to the police statement. "Several people have already been cited in this fight and several injuries were reported."
Romero said the brawling adults didn't give enough thought to the example they were setting for children.
“You think it’s common sense to not do this at any sporting event, especially around kids," Romero told KUSA. "It’s a good reminder for adults: Whether you’re a parent or not, you have these children who look up to you, think before you act.”
A woman can be heard on the video expressing disbelief at what was unfolding in front of her.
"What is happening, what is happening?" the woman said as men rained blows on each other. "This cannot happen. This cannot happen. Oh my gosh."
Ford reported from Lakewood, Colorado and Li from New York