Shooting near New Jersey high school football game raises community concerns

Detectives found 8 bullet casings but say there are no confirmed victims at this time.

Sunday, October 3, 2021
Shooting near NJ high school football game raises concerns
Cherry Hill Police investigating several shots fired near Cherry Hill High School West football game Friday night.

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Cherry Hill police and the Camden County Prosecutor's Office are investigating a shooting incident near a high school football game Friday night.

Police say shots were fired just before 9 p.m. in a residential area near Fulton Street and Weld Street.

The incident was near the sports complex for Cherry Hill High School West during their football game against Bridgeton High School.

"Just hear, bang, bang bang," said James McKee, who lives in the neighborhood where the shooting happened.

"It's pretty frightening," said Joe Fox, who also lives in the neighborhood.

Detectives say they found eight shell casings at the scene but no victims at this time.

There has been a recent rash of violence at high school football events all across the region. It's prompted some schools to beef up security and others to ban fans altogether.

Saturday afternoon at Joseph McNichol Field, the Archbishop Carroll Patriots had a home game against the Eagles of Conwell Egan.

Action News spoke with parents who attended the game who were concerned about the recent shootings at or around high school football games.

"There should be more police presence," said Shawn Hall. "It could happen anywhere."

No fans were allowed at Bonner and Prendie's home game Friday night.

Their Facebook post cited "potential for altercations."

Some Cherry Hill parents fear their stadium could ban fans next.

"That's sad. They're actually stopping people because of that. It's crazy," said Sally Boyle from Cherry Hill.

Last month a West Philadelphia high school football game was cut short because of gunfire that left two teens wounded nearby.

RELATED: High school football game cut short due to a shooting nearby in West Philadelphia

In August, gunfire rang out a block away from an Academy Park High School football game. Police then opened fire on what they thought was a suspect vehicle. Officers' gunfire allegedly killed 8-year-old Fanta Bility.

ALSO RELATED: Delaware County Black Caucus calls for officers involved in fatal shooting of 8-year-old to be fired

These recent incidents have prompted parents to have necessary conversations with their children.

Jennifer Nance's 15-year-old son plays football for Archbishop Carroll.

"It is sad to have that conversation with our children. To not know if it's going to scare them or have them on edge," said Nance.

Archbishop Carroll's football coach says he has safety talks with the players.

"When we have those conversations, they're hard, and they're tough," said Kyle Detweiler, head football coach for Archbishop John Carroll High School.

Detweiler says the recent shootings sicken him.

"The best part of high school football is the potential of the kids," added Detweiler. "When somebody doesn't get that opportunity, and it's cut short and taken away, you don't have words. It's just the potential of a life that's unfulfilled."

In a statement, the superintendent of Cherry Hill Public Schools said:

"Upon notification of the incident that evening, our administrators and campus police officers at the stadium immediately closed the gates to the stadium, and no one was permitted to enter.

The Cherry Hill police recommended that we continue the game. The game continued and concluded without incident."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Cherry Hill Police or the Camden County Prosecutors Office.