What to Know
- A man and two boys were shot during the Camden-Pleasantville high school football game Friday night.
- The game, which was in the third quarter when gunfire erupted, will be finished Wednesday at Lincoln Financial Field.
- A 31-year-old Atlantic City is accused of attempted murder. Five others, including the adult shooting victim, face gun charges.
A boy who was shot during a high school football playoff Friday night in the Jersey Shore city of Pleasantville remains in a coma, authorities said Monday.
Micah Tennant, a 10-year-old boy from Atlantic City, is hospitalized at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. He was struck in the neck when gunfire erupted in the stands of a football game between Pleasantville and Camden high schools.
"He’s a young kid. He’s in bad shape and while I don’t want to say much more, he’s worthy of everybody’s respect he’s pulled through this," Pleasantville Police Chief Sean Riggin said. "To be such a tough little kid, to be able to hang in there through a very critical serious injury, he’s an impressive young guy. I really want to see him pull through this but he’s in bad shape."
Pleasantville High School is about 7 miles west of Atlantic City and recently won a division title for the first time in 43 years. On Friday, the stands were packed to see the top-seeded Greyhounds take on the No. 4-seeded Panthers.
A reporter with The Press of Atlantic City, who was at the game, said the shooting occurred in the third quarter, during a punt with Camden leading 6-0.
Videos obtained by The Associated Press and NBC10 showed people hitting the ground, running from the bleachers and jumping over chain-link fences as gunfire erupted. At least six gunshots were audible in a Jersey Sports Zone video, which also showed players stopping mid-play, looking at the stands and then turning to run.
Panicked spectators and some players knocked down a fence in their haste to escape the field.
"My first reaction was run, run. Because you don't wan to be caught up in it," Ernest Howard Jr., co-captain of the Pleasantville High School football team, told NBC10. "The next thing you hear are the gunshots and everybody starts running for the far fence and break through the fence."
Howard's mother, Keisha Miles, was in the stands during the shooting.
"My heart dropped," Miles said. "I tried to keep faith and I was very, very worried."
One of two other people struck by bullets, Ibn Abdullah, allegedly was the intended target, police have said. Abdullah, who allegedly brought a gun to the game, has also been charged in the shooting. A 15-year-old was shot as well, but has been released from the hospital. Tennant, meanwhile, remains unconscious in critical condition.
"It was definitely frightening because us kids don't get that many opportunities so to hear a kid got shot, it just hurts," Howard said.
The suspected shooter, 31-year-old Alvin Wyatt of Atlantic City, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and two weapons counts, according to Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner
He was captured in the end zone moments after the shooting by a Pleasantville officer assigned to the game, Tyner said.
Three other men - 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, police said. Dixon is also accused of eluding capture.
After the shooting, they were seen driving toward Atlantic City with their headlights off, officials said. They were chased by a police officer and one of the passengers threw a gun off a drawbridge, investigators said. That gun was later recovered.
Authorities have said it did not appear that any of the men charged had any connection to the game.
"Unlike some of the shootings that have occurred on school premises throughout the country, this incident had nothing to do with the students of Pleasantville High School or Camden High School," Tyner said over the weekend. "The venue simply presented an opportunity for criminals to pursue their own form of petty vengeance against one another. 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."
The two high school teams are scheduled to finish their game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The game was in the third quarter when the shooting occurred. The teams will play the remaining minutes at the Linc with free passes being distributed to the players' parents and family members. The game will be closed to the general public.