Local News

Pee-wee football game canceled after shooting

Posted October 15, 2008 1:50 p.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2008 6:29 p.m. EDT

— A 17-year-old was wounded Tuesday evening in a gang-related shooting at a Sanford park where 9 and 10-year-olds were warming up for a football game, police said Wednesday.

The shooting occurred at about 6:15 p.m. in the parking lot of Horton Park, on Washington Avenue, said Capt. David Smith of the Sanford Police Department.

"My children and I were inside the house, and I heard pop, pop, pop, pop, and my children were, like, 'Mama, firecrackers,'" said Melissa Peoples, who lives near the park. "I said, 'No, that's not firecrackers.'"

A man whose son was in the pee-wee football game said he heard about 15 shots. Children came running from a picnic shelter  at the park after the shooting, he said.

Officials immediately canceled the game.

The shots hit three parked cars, Smith said.

"Shooting down in the ground or whatever, in the gravel, pavement or anything, any of those bullets could have ricocheted. We were just fortunate," he said.

Freeman Brooks said the teen who was shot came running past his house.

"Somebody came running by here hollering (and) went up the street," Brooks said. "(He was) hollering like he was hurting."

The teen, whose name hasn't been released, wound up at Central Carolina Hospital, where he was treated for wounds to his lower back and hip. The injuries were not life-threatening, Smith said.

Smith said the teen identified the shooter as a member of a rival gang. Police had identified a suspect by Wednesday evening and expected to make an arrest.

Peoples said the incident upsets her.

"My husband takes my children out there all the time," she said. "It's very scary."