'It was horrific': Videos show players, families at little league game take cover after gunshots ring out
WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) — Harrowing footage from a little league baseball game in North Carolina shows 7- and 8-year-old players hit the ground after gunfire rings out nearby.
The scary situation unfolded Sunday morning at an all-star little league tournament in Wilson, according to a news release from Wilson police.
The incident was initially reported as an “active shooter” situation, but police later told Nexstar’s WNCN that was not the case. No one at the game was intentionally targeted, police added.
Footage from the game showed players and coaches hitting the ground. Another video shared with WNCN showed chaos in the stands as children and their families tried to take cover.
“Parents couldn’t find their kids, kids couldn’t find their parents,” recalled Lindsey Stephenson, whose son plays on one of the teams.
Bull City Little League Assistant Coach Chris Breslin didn’t even hear the gunshots, but rather a noise he believed to be the bullets flying through the air.
“I didn’t hear bangs, I just heard like whizzes,” Breslin explained. “It seemed like right by my head. Three in quick succession.”
In another video sent to WNCN, Breslin is seen standing next to a player, and seconds later dropping to the ground.
He Army-crawled to get on top of the player, shielding him from any more gunfire.
“It was horrific. When I hit the ground, I remember thinking, this is the worst possible thing,” he said. “[The player] was so scared. He kept saying, ‘I don’t want to play baseball. Is the bad man coming? I’m scared’ … It was terrible.”
No one was injured, but parents were terrified.
Police later found three bullets in the area, including one in the outfield and one that struck a car in the parking area.
Officials, meanwhile, are still searching for the person, or people, responsible.
“Two vehicles were identified as potentially being involved in the incident during the initial investigation. The Wilson Police Department located those vehicles yesterday and spoke to the occupants, who were attendees at the game,” Wilson police said in a release.
The Wilson Police Department is encouraging anyone with information to contact the department at 252-399-2323, or to call Crime Stoppers at 252-243-2255.
Attendees at the game told WNCN they were terrified knowing how vulnerable they were.
“There you are, with all these kids out there. … You don’t know where to go. You don’t know where to turn to. You don’t know what to do,” said Missy Rhoads, who was supporting the Rutherford team. “You are on an open field and you’re just sitting ducks.”
“I never thought that an 8-year-old’s baseball game is where I thought I’d be risking the life of my husband and son,” added Stephenson. “That thought never crossed my mind until [Sunday].”
Some parents are now concerned about whether local police would be prepared if a similar incident happens in the future.
“I expecting swarms of officers and sheriff’s deputies, and every man they had coming to the field. You saw one car here, one car there,” Stephenson said.
A few teams, including one of the teams playing Sunday morning, have pulled out of the remainder of the tournament.