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Friday, December 13, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Six charged after gunfire breaks out during New Jersey high school football game, leaving three injured

Police investigate the scene after a gunman shot into a crowd of people during a football game at Pleasantville High School in Pleasantville, N.J., Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (Edward Lea / Associated Press)
Police investigate the scene after a gunman shot into a crowd of people during a football game at Pleasantville High School in Pleasantville, N.J., Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (Edward Lea / Associated Press)
By Lateshia Beachum and Jake Russell Washington Post

Six people face charges after a Friday night shooting at a New Jersey high school football game left at least three people injured, authorities said.

The incident, which sent fans and players rushing for safety, occurred as Pleasantville High School hosted Camden High in a playoff game. The sound of “about a half dozen” bullets rang out in the air, the Press of Atlantic City reported, sending players and onlookers scrambling for safety.

The shooting occurred just a day after two people were killed and three others were wounded in a shooting at a high school in Santa Clarita, California, adding to the panic.

Alvin Wyatt, 31, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder along with other charges, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said in a statement Saturday. Michael Mack, 27; Tyrell Dorn, 28; Shahid Dixon, 27; and Vance Golden, 26, were charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. Dixon is also charged with eluding.

One of the victims is also being charged with a crime. Ibn Abdullah, 27, is being charged with unlawful possession of a handgun, a first-degree crime, because he has a prior conviction for first-degree robbery, authorities said. He’s also being charged with certain persons not permitted to possess a handgun. Abdullah is in stable condition and will be undergoing surgery.

A 10-year-old was struck in the neck and is currently under care at a Philadelphia hospital, said Pleasantville Police Department public information officer Matthew Hartman at a news conference Saturday. A 15-year-old male suffered a graze wound.

Police said Wyatt shot his firearm in the west end of the Pleasantville High School stands. He was apprehended within feet of the firing by officers who were working detail for the game, said Pleasantville Police Chief Sean Riggin.

Four of the shooting suspects fled to Atlantic City in a car, with one suspect throwing a gun out of the vehicle, according to authorities. Patrol officers stopped the vehicle after seeing it traveling without headlights and failing to yield, said Hartman.

Camden was leading the game 6-0 in the third quarter when the shooting erupted.

“I was gonna go in for defense. As soon as I heard the gun shots, all my brothers, all my teammates were crying and they just started running,” Pleasantville High School senior defensive lineman Fernando Flores-Zelaya said in a video posted online by a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter.

“As soon as I got into the gym, all my teammates were crying,” Flores-Zelaya said. “I was worried for my sister, my teammates, and all my friends… . It’s horrible, man. Worst feeling I ever felt in my entire life.”

Pleasantville High School assistant coach Chris Mancuso made sure all the players were off the field, he told the Press of Atlantic City.

Flores-Zelaya said he hurt his leg after he ran from the incident and jumped a fence.

Derek Carrington, Pleasantville’s former athletic director, told the Press that he – along with his brother – helped fans and players who were rushing for safety over a fence.

“We must have helped 15-20 people get over the fence,” Carrington told the newspaper. “One woman came up to me and asked me to ‘please help her son.’ I just can’t believe something like this happened.”

There were no students from either high school involved in the shooting, according to Tyner.

“The venue simply presented an opportunity for criminals to pursue their own form of petty vengeance against one another,” he said.

The cause of the shooting between Wyatt and Abdullah is currently unclear, Riggin said.

“We just saw everybody from the crowd running,” Pleasantville wide receiver and defensive back Keon Henry said. “Coach was telling us get down but we didn’t want to get down. We wanted to get somewhere safe inside the school, so we all ran up here, ran through the fence and then went through here.”

The Camden City School District tweeted that no Camden students were injured in the incident. “Unbelievable… We’re heading home, we’re safe thank you,” the Camden Athletics wrote on Twitter.

“It just don’t make sense at a game tho,” Pleasantville linebacker and running back Ernest Howard Jr. wrote on Twitter.

“THIS IS NOT OKAY!!!!!” Rutgers linebacker and Pleasantville alumnus Mohamed Toure posted.

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