Teacher, student recount frantic moments after shooting at middle school football game in Lumberton
LUMBERTON, N.C. (WMBF) - A shooting outside a junior high football game in Lumberton Wednesday night left one woman critically injured and sent two football teams and spectators running for safety.
Police responded to a call just before 8 p.m. of reported gunfire at Lumberton Senior High School football stadium. On arrival they found a 41-year-old woman suffering from a gunshot wound in the parking lot.
The victim was taken by helicopter to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Her name has not been released; however, Lumberton Police said her condition has improved to “critical but stable.”
Witnesses say they heard multiple gunshots and described the suspect as wearing black clothing.
A video taken by Don Weller, a teacher at the Public Schools of Robeson County, shows the teams at a trophy ceremony when all of a sudden gunshots and screaming in the background. That’s when everyone on the field started running.
**WARNING: The video may be difficult and disturbing for some people to watch**
In the video, you can see 7th-grade student Bobby Holloman helping Weller and telling him to get down by a fence.
“I’m running and I see Mr. Weller fall in front of me and I saw he dropped his phone. I picked up his phone and I said, ‘I got your phone,’ and I laid it on his chest and pushed him down and then I got down right beside him,” Holloman said.
Those attending the game heard the gunshots but no one knew where they were coming from, so everyone hid where they could.
“My mom said that she looked over and couldn’t find me and her and my little brother got up under the bleachers and hid,” Holloman recalled.
The Public Schools of Robeson County leadership held a meeting Thursday morning, making the decision to add an additional safety feature to campuses during home sporting events.
“The Public Schools of Robeson County takes the senseless matter that occurred Wednesday evening in the parking lot during the middle school football championship between St. Pauls Middle and Lumberton Jr. High teams at Lumberton High School very seriously,” the district said in a statement.
The district superintendent said PSRC will soon begin leasing additional lighting for campuses, especially in parking lot areas at middle and high schools.
The additional lighting will add security to the preexisting protocols of security checks at entrances and a police presence at the game, the district said in a statement.
“We’re not going to tolerate that kind of behavior on our campuses whether it occurs during the school day or after,” said PSRC Superintendent Dr. Freddie Williamson. “Safety is our top priority as we will place additional measures necessary to ensure the safety of our students and the public on our campuses during games.”
The district said proper safety protocols were followed by staff during the incident and law enforcement agencies responded quickly.
“We ask the community to join us in prayer for the families of those affected including spectators and students. We also ask for prayers on behalf of the victim who was injured,” Williamson said.
The superintendent said extra support will be provided for students and staff at St. Pauls Middle and Lumberton Jr. High schools.
“Last night should have been a moment our students will remember as they completed the championship and made lifelong memories with their peers. That moment was wrongfully taken from those students and will instead serve as a reminder of how far we as a society have fallen. But PSRC will move forward. We will move forward together and we ask the community to support us and join hands with us as we recover from this senseless act of violence,” Williamson said.
PSRC Board of Education Chairman John Simmons also issued a statement.
“We are asking our students and community members if they see something to say something to law enforcement members and school officials so that such acts can be prevented,” Simmons said.
The Lumberton Police Department and Robeson County Sheriff’s Office are asking for the community’s help with the investigation into the shooting.
Anyone who was at the game and may have witnessed anything that might be related to the shooting or has video that could help investigators is asked to contact the Lumberton Police Department at 910-671-3845 or the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-671-3170 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
No further information on the suspect(s) is currently available.
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