Chaos, Panic After Shots Rang Out At High School Championship Football Game
CAMPBELL (CBS SF) — When the 10 shots first rang out, many of the thousands of fans and players didn’t hear them over the roar of excitement from a touchdown that just had been scored at Friday night’s CCS Division 1 championship game between St. Francis and Serra high schools.
But moments later there was fear, panic and chaos.
“We just started to run and get under cover and get behind some tents that we were under,” said Serra High head coach Patrick Walsh. “It was a chaotic scene. It was scary.”
Penelope Correa was a student caught up in the rush for cover.
“All of a sudden you heard five shots at least and everyone didn’t really know what it was at first and then all the students scattered away and started running to the back of the school that’s when teams dropped (to the field),” Correa told KPIX. “I was running to the back of the school not even knowing where I was going.”
Two men suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting that took place in the parking lot of Campbell’s Westmont High, the neutral site chosen to host the game.
Investigators have not released any information about the suspects or if the shooting was even related to the game.
But nerves remained raw hours after the contest.
“There’s no playbook for this,” Walsh said. “There’s certain plays that we ended up executing that night. But certainly, this was not something that anyone was prepared for.”
According to the news reports, more than 5,000 tickets were sold for the game between the WCAL rivals. Serra had just gone up 16-12 with 2:18 remaining in the game when the sound of shots rang out.
In the stands, fans froze for a moment. Sierra players rushed off the field, St. Francis players dove to the ground for cover.
“All the fans started pouring out,” said Matt Halmo, who was attending the game to cheer on Saint Francis. “And everyone was scared there would be a stampede. And that was the point where everyone got really nervous. We didn’t know what was going on. Because all the reports were there was someone shooting in the stadium.”
“We had people yelling ‘don’t stampede, don’t run,'” Halmo added. “A lot of people stood up and controlled the crowd, which was great.”
CCS commissioner Dave Grissom told the San Jose Mercury News that officials were caught off guard too.
“Nothing really prepares you (for something like that) until you are in the throes of it,” CCS commissioner Dave Grissom told the paper. “It took a while for us to find out if it was an active shooter … (or) if it was fireworks, firecrackers.”
CCS officials resumed the game at 9:36 p.m. after police gave the all-clear. Serra won by the 16-12 margin.