‘Petty vengeance’ sparks NJ football game shooting — Boy fighting for life
PLEASANTVILLE — Prosecutors say "petty vengeance" sparked a shooting during a Friday night football playoff game that hospitalized a man, a 10-year-old child and a 15-year-old. Police have charged a suspected gunman and five others — including the adult victim.
Prosecutors said Alvin Wyatt, 31, started shooting about 8:30 p.m. at a 27-year-old man at the Pleasantville High School football field during the school's game against Camden.
Police arrested Wyatt after he was pointed out by bystanders.
Prosecutors said four other men tried to make a getaway in the same vehicle. A cop in neighboring Absecon tried to pull them over but they failed to yield, officials said. Police said one of the men tossed a gun out of the car's window as they entered Atlantic City, where they were arrested.
Wyatt was charged with three counts of attempted murder, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Michael Mack, 27, Tyrell Dorn, 28, Shahid Dixon, 27 — all of Atlantic City— and Vance Golden, 26, of Pleasantville, are charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and certain persons not to posses a weapon. Dixon is also charged with eluding.
The adult victim, Ibn Abdullah, required surgery and was in stable condition on Saturday morning. He is in police custody at the hospital and has been charged with a weapons possession offense.
Authorities already had 10 armed officers at the playoff game in addition to school security and emergency medical personnel.
Chaos followed the shooting with athletes and spectators running for cover.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said a 10 year-old is in critical condition after being shot in the neck. A 15-year old male suffered a graze wound but has been released from the hospital.
"I cannot stress enough how this community is impacted by gun violence on so many levels," Tyner said Saturday afternoon, adding that the shooting "detracted from the fact that these two communities ... played an incredible football game on the field."
Tyner said the Friday night game was something that "other communities take for granted" and that the "vicarious trauma" that the suspects placed on the people in the crowd "will be untold" and "should be criminal enough."
Tyner said the shooting was a case of "petty vengeance" and had nothing to do with the students of Pleasantville or Camden High School. The prosecutor did not disclose a more specific reason for the shooting.
"As a result, an innocent child was caught and injured in their crossfire. Our community will not be held hostage by a few idiots intent on jeopardizing our safety and the safety of our children,” Tyner said.
NJSIAA spokesman Mike Cherenson said the scholastic athletics governing body is “working with the schools to determine what is in best interest of kids.” The game is suspended.
Gov. Phil Murphy said that "high school playoff football should be a cause for community celebration, not the backdrop for panic and terror. I am grateful for the lifesaving swift actions of first responders to tend to the wounded, and our prayers are with the victims for a swift and full recovery."
He said that the shooting "was a stark reminder that no community is immune from gun violence, and that we must not ever give up in our efforts to prevent such senseless acts.”
On Twitter, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker said that Friday night football games shaped his life and should be a "safe place for our children."
"My heart is with the victims and their families of last night’s senseless shooting—no one should have to experience what Camden and Pleasantville students, families, and fans just did," Booker said.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report
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