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Friday night lights under fire: High school football games are being blitzed by gun violence

By David K. Li and Corky Siemaszko, NBC, September 15, 2023

Gun violence is threatening to dim Friday night lights and endangering a beloved national pastime — high school football games.

This season alone so far only six weeks into the academic year, there have already been at least 16 shootings, resulting in two deaths and 13 people wounded at games across the country, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database, which has been tracking this data since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

There have been two additional incidents at high school football fields this season: one where a crowd began a stampede after someone flashed a gun, and one where gunfire ended a Pop Warner game.

Karissa Niehoff, executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations, stated

“It’s been sad to watch,” she said. “Horrific. It’s definitely the worst I can remember in 35 years as a teacher, coach, leader in sports.”

Niehoff said that when her association meets with local sports administrators about boosting security at big games, football in particular, this kind of violence is the “elephant in the room.” She said she’s grateful that, so far, none of these shootings have turned into mass casualty events.

“We’re just praying that we never have to talk about something like that,” she said.

Last year, two Texas teenagers in a Dallas suburb who had allegedly been plotting to carry out a mass shooting at an Everman High School football game were intercepted by police before they got to the school, according to published reports. Police found an AR pistol and a 60-round magazine in their car.

“It’s almost always a dispute that escalates into violence because somebody has a gun,” he said. “What has not happened yet is a planned attack on a high school football game.”

What, besides guns, do all these incidents have in common? Insufficient security.

On one Thursday in early September, an unspecified “threat” prompted officials in suburban Cleveland to play the Shaker Heights High School-Maple Heights High School game behind closed doors, with no fans.

Multiple students “told a trusted adult that they were aware of a threat related specifically to the game,” according to Shaker Heights City School District statement. The exact nature of this threat was not disclosed.

It’s also very hit-or-miss with security screenings. In one case, they had screenings at the start of the game but that was it. So somebody could have left the stadium and come back with a gun.”

It is a sad fact of life that many schools in America have metal detectors at the doors to classroom buildings, but securing a major venue like a football stadium can be a tougher challenge, Neihoff said.

Bulky, airport-style metal detectors can’t be easily moved from a central school door to a football stadium, she said. And there often aren’t enough of these devices to cover multiple entry points at stadiums.

In the upstate New York city of Utica, the public school district this month announced on its official Facebook page that it was beefing up security by only allowing students accompanied by a parent to attend school-sponsored sporting events.

The school district made this move after a security officer was shot in the head and wounded Sept. 9 while trying to break up a fight that broke out in a parking lot outside a Proctor High School football game.

A 16-year-old who does not attend Proctor High has been charged with attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon and other charges, Utica Police Lt. Mike Curley said.

To keep guns out, school officials banned backpacks and fanny packs from all district athletic events and said there would be “no re-entry and no admittance after halftime” at high school football games.

Also, at Utica high school football games, all fans will file into the stadium through a single entry point where they will be required to pass through a metal detector.

Consider what happened Sept. 1 in Louisiana when 15-year-old Ja’Kobe Queen was fatally shot during halftime of what’s called the Sugar Cane Classic between the Port Allen Pelicans and their archrivals, the Brusly High Panthers.

Police said Queen had walked over to a concession stand to buy a cold drink when shots rang out.

“Although we had extra security at this game, it ended in a tragic incident,” West Baton Rouge schools said in a statement released a day after the shooting.

A 28-year-old woman was also injured in the shooting, the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office said. And an 18-year-old named Jarrettin Jackson II was later arrested in connection with the shooting.

The California Interscholastic Federation, which oversees prep sports in the nation’s largest state, said all schools have to file an “emergency action plan.”

What CA is really driving right now is their sportsmanship initiative.  The lack of sportsmanship has gotten out of control at many events, not just in California but all over the U.S. We’re really pushing to get everyone to be on the same page, support each other, be positive and be there for the kids.

Electric Zoo Festival spirals into chaos after maximum capacity prompts fans to storm gates

Electric Zoo Festival spirals into chaos after maximum capacity prompts fans to storm gates

By Sonia Rincón WABC logo

Monday, September 4, 2023

RANDALL’S ISLAND, Manhattan (WABC) — The Electric Zoo Festival reached maximum capacity Sunday night ‘due to unforeseen circumstances’ and did not let anyone else in for safety reasons.

As a result, a crowd stormed the gates at the festival, causing even more chaos for an event that struggled to get on its feet on opening day.

Around 6 p.m., security workers stopped letting people in – even those who bought tickets.

Some fans did not leave quietly when they got to the gate and were told their ticket wouldn’t get them in. Soon after the news broke, social media videos show fans pushing their way in, rushing the gates, jumping over and crawling through a security checkpoint, then running into the festival.

The situation left police helpless and unable to stop the sheer number of people rushing into the event held at Randall’s Park.

While the festival still went on, many of the people who bought tickets and planned to go were turned away. Sonia Rincon has the details.

Fans’ disappointment has been building since Friday when day one of Electric Zoo was cancelled – the festival saying it had an issue getting a main stage up because of supply chain disruptions. Then, on Saturday, Day Two started two hours late. Sunday was the third and final day of the festival, and the turnout was more than they were prepared for.

The entrances to Randall’s Island from the Triboro Bridge – for pedestrians and vehicles were shut down.

Eyewitness News spoke to some fans who bought tickets month ago and never made it in – and one who witnessed what he called the ‘stampede,’ saying all the running made him wonder if there was an active shooter, so he and his friends felt uneasy and called it a night early.

“We just saw all of the equipment, the tents, stuff like that being knocked down so we didn’t know what to do. It was a crazy situation. And after that it was impossible to get to any of the sets. So after that, it was hard getting out last night, so we thought, might as well just get out of there,” said John McGuire.

“They will refund us the money that we spent, so I’m fine as long as we’re safe, so we’re good,” said Cicero Clamor.

The festival put out a statement around 6:30 p.m. saying in part,

“It is with deep regret that we need to inform you that due to the challenges caused by Friday cancelation, we have reached our venue’s capacity earlier than anticipated for today, Sunday. For the safety and well-being of everyone on site, we will not be admitting any additional attendees today.”

The statement went on to say it promises to refund their money and make it up to the fans.

Fans expressed outrage on social media were upset not just with the lack of capacity, but the lack of security, and are wondering how it will do that.

There is no word if there were any injuries. No arrests were made.

49ers fans attack each other in massive brawl at Levi’s Stadium

Tony Kurzweil
Fri, September 22, 2023 at 9:24 AM CDT·1 min read


A large fight erupted in the stands at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara during Thursday night’s NFL game.

The San Francisco 49ers were taking on the New York Giants when a group of the so-called “Niner Gang” turned on each other. The video posted by @T_Stephenson1 on X shows what appeared to be a fight between two women when a male bystander grabbed the hair of one of the combatants and pulled her down.

Another man then tried to get involved in the fight and ended up getting punched and kicked by the bystanders.

Brawl at 49ers game
Brawl at 49ers game

Security guards arrived and control of the situation at that point.

It was unclear what started the brawl or if any disciplinary action was taken against any of the participants.

The 49ers had much less trouble on the field Thursday night, easily beating the Giants 30-12.

Violent altercations between fans in the stands appear to be turning into a trend this season. 49ers fans were involved in a fight earlier this month during a preseason game against the Denver Broncos.

A Patriots fan died following an altercation with a Miami Dolphins fan at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 17.

Also in September, a man was knocked out by a headbutt from a Bengals fan and multiple fights broke out in the stands in Dallas during a game between the Cowboys and New York Jets.

Massachusetts police investigating death of Patriots fan during game at Gillette Stadium

Callie Lawson-Freeman

Tue, Sep 19, 2023

The death of a man during Sunday night’s New England Patriots game against the Miami Dolphins is being investigated by Massachusetts State Police and a county district attorney’s office, according to multiple reports.

The 53-year-old was identified as Dale Mooney by the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office, per a report from NBC News.

He was in 300-level seating inside Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, when he had an “apparent medical event” before 11 p.m., state police reportedly said. Police and firefighters responded and he was pronounced dead at Sturdy Memorial Hospital, according to the report.

The Norfolk District Attorney’s Office is investigating the death as part of “normal protocol,” the prosecutor’s office told NBC News.

Charges have yet to be filed in connection to Mooney’s death. Progress of the active investigation will depend on an autopsy, which could be conducted Tuesday, the District Attorney’s Office’s statement reportedly said.

People tailgate outside Gillette Stadium before an NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

A man died at Gillette Stadium during an NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Police are “investigating the facts and circumstances of the man’s death, including the sequence of events prior to the medical incident,” David Procopio, a spokesman for the state police, told The Foxboro Reporter.

Witnesses described NBC10 Boston a fight breaking out before Mooney’s death:

“It was really one punch that I saw and the victim got punched really hard on the side of the head and went down. He’s a bigger guy but he just crumbled,” one witness told the local outlet.

The witness went on to describe a “brutal” scene that unfolded as first responders arrived and performed compressions on Mooney for 10 minutes:

“It was pretty heartbreaking and the game was still going on so the general public clearly knew what was going on in our section so the game was going on, people are cheering for the Patriots comeback, and this poor guy has passed away before our eyes,” the witness added.

There are multiple cell phone videos circulating of the incident. One shows security attempting to break up the fight.

Lisa Mooney told Boston’s ABC6 that her husband, Dale, was being provoked by other fans during the game, which led to a fight where another man allegedly punched him in the head three times. She added that she wasn’t aware of her husband having a preexisting medical condition.

“It takes a lot to get him mad,” Mooney’s wife said. “He has the patience of a saint. I don’t know what happened.”

Mooney’s wife told NBC10 Boston that he went to Gillette Stadium to support the Patriots for many years. They were together for more than three decades and had two sons together.

Madagascar stadium crush claims 12, 80 hurt

Article posted by Coliseum, September 4th, 2023

At least 12 people have been killed and 80 injured after a stampede occurred of sport fans trying to enter Madagascar’s (an island country lying off the southeastern coast of Africa) national stadium for the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games.

‘ALJAZEERA’ stated that the stampede occurred at the entrance to the Barea Stadium on August 25th where a crowd of about 50,000 spectators had arrived to attend the event.

The 41,000-capacity Kianja Barea Mahamasina is a rugby union and football stadium, also used for concerts and athletics, in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

The Indian Ocean Island Games is a quadrennial multisport event from the Indian Ocean island nations. The Games was created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1977 and currently gather the island nations and territories of Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, Réunion, and the Maldives.

The 2023 Indian Ocean Island Games kicked off in Madagascar from August 25th and will continue till September 3rd.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a non-governmental sports organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is constituted in the form of an association under the Swiss Civil Code.

‘ALJAZEERA’ further stated that Madagascar’s Prime Minister Christian Ntsay told reporters at a hospital in Antananarivo, “The provisional toll shows 12 dead and some 80 injured.”

The President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina, who was present at the opening ceremony, called for a minute of silence.

“A tragic event occurred because there was pushing. There were injuries and deaths at the entrance,” he said in a televised speech.

TV broadcast showed dazed and shocked people trying to locate their shoes piled amongst objects lost in the deadly crush.

Other images from inside the stadium, shared on social media, showed the stands packed with spectators.

At least 15 people were killed in a similar incident at the Mahamasina stadium in 2019.

Fan rushes field to hug Lionel Messi during LAFC vs. Inter Miami matchup


LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Things got a little “Messi” during Sunday night’s match between LAFC and Inter Miami.

Video captured the moment a Barcelona fan rushed the field to get close to soccer superstar Lionel Messi but was dragged away.

Sports Illustrated reports Messi’s personal bodyguard jumped into action during the second half of the match.

The report also praised LAFC defender Aaron Long (No. 33) for being willing to step in front of Messi and slow the fan down. The fan was able to touch Messi before he was pulled away and taken by three members of BMO Stadium security.

Miami landed a 3-1 road victory over LAFC.

Despite the loss, Los Angeles remains in third place in the MLS Western Conference. Their next game is set for Saturday in Portland.

Protesters arrested after delaying US Open match

Play at the U.S. Open was interrupted on Thursday night.

September 8, 2023, 8:17 AM

ABC News Live

Sep 7, 2023; Flushing, NY, USA; Police work to remove a climate change protester during the wo…

Two protesters have been arrested after play at the U.S. Open was interrupted on Thursday night when they began shouting and one glued his feet to the ground during a match at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

Sayak Mukhopadhyay, 50, of White Plains, was charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct after gluing his feet to the concrete floor in the stands. Gregory Schwedock, 35, of Manhattan, who was also escorted out, was charged with criminal trespass.

Both were given tickets to appear in court at a later date.

PHOTO: Sep 7, 2023; Flushing, NY, USA; A climate change protester disrupts the women's semifinal between Coco Gauff olie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 7, 2023; Flushing, NY, USA; A climate change protester disrupts the women’s semifinal between Coco Gauff of the United States and

Two other protesters were given trespassing notices by the U.S. Open, which effectively puts them on notice that they are no longer permitted on the grounds.

The delay of the match between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova began at 8:05 p.m. ET when protesters appeared to be shouting about climate change. They were wearing shirts that read “End Fossil Fuels.”

“Following the first game of the second set in the Gauff-Muchova match, play was halted due to a protest conducted by four spectators,” the U.S. Tennis Association said in a statement Thursday night.

“Three of the four protesters were escorted out of the stadium without further incident. The fourth protester affixed their bare feet to the floor of the seating bowl. Due to the nature of this action, NYPD and medical personnel were needed in order to safely remove this individual from the stadium,” the statement continued.

The NYPD took four protesters into custody, according to the USTA.

Play resumed after the 49-minute incident. Gauff would eventually win the match in two sets to advance to her first U.S. Open final.

Death at Burning Man 2023

Death investigated at Burning Man while 70,000 festival attendees remain stuck in Nevada desert after rain

Nouran Salahieh and Emma Tucker, CNN

Sun, September 3, 2023

Authorities are investigating a death at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert as thousands of people remain trapped on site after heavy rains inundated the area and created thick, ankle-deep mud which sticks to campers’ shoes and vehicle tires.

Attendees were told to shelter in place in the Black Rock Desert and conserve food, water and fuel after a rainstorm swamped the area, forcing officials to halt any entering or leaving of the festival.

“A little over 70,000 people,” remained stranded Saturday, Sgt. Nathan Carmichael, with the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, told CNN Sunday morning. Some people have left the site by walking out but “most of the RVs are stuck in place,” he said.

On Sunday morning, event organizers said roads remained closed as they were “too wet and muddy” and more uncertain weather was likely on the way. While some vehicles were able to leave, others got stuck in the mud, organizers said on the event’s website.

“Please do NOT drive at this time,” they added. “We will update you on the driving ban after this weather front has left the area.”

The remote area in northwest Nevada was hit with 2 to 3 months’ worth of rain – up to 0.8 inches – in just 24 hours between Friday and Saturday morning. The heavy rainfall fell on dry desert grounds, whipping up thick, clay-like mud festivalgoers said was too difficult to walk or bike through.

The sheriff’s office said it is investigating “a death which occurred during this rain event.” Authorities did not publicly name the person or provide details on the circumstances of the death.

“The family has been notified and the death is under investigation,” the sheriff’s office said in a late Saturday news release.

The individual was found on the playa and lifesaving procedures to revive them were not successful, Carmichael said Sunday, but did not share further details.

Playa is the term used to describe sunken dry lake beds in deserts where water evaporates rather than running off, and even a small amount of rain can quickly soak a large area.

Event organizers said they plan to burn the Man – the huge totem set on fire at the festival’s culmination – on Sunday night, if weather allows.

The rainy conditions forecast over the area for Sunday afternoon had mostly passed to the east of the festival site, according to a social media post from organizers, though there is still a chance of showers and thunderstorms “for the rest of daylight hours” into the evening.

How long this could last

Authorities have not provided information on when roads could reopen, but the sunshine is expected to return Monday.

Burning Man attendees walk through the mud on Saturday. - Trevor Hughes/USA Today Network
Burning Man attendees walk through the mud on Saturday. – Trevor Hughes/USA Today Network

“We do not currently have an estimated time for the roads to be dry enough for RVs or vehicles to navigate safely,” Burning Man organizers said in a Saturday evening statement. “Monday late in the day would be possible if weather conditions are in our favor. It could be sooner.”

Organizers noted the rain falling on an already saturated playa overnight and Sunday “will affect the amount of time it takes for the playa to dry.”

For now, the gate and airport into Black Rock City remain closed and no driving is allowed into or out of the city except for emergency vehicles, the organizers said on social media. Black Rock City is a temporary metropolis erected annually for the festival and comes complete with emergency, safety and sanitary infrastructure.

The rain “made it virtually impossible for motorized vehicles to traverse the playa,” the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said, noting people were advised to shelter in place until the ground has dried enough to drive on safely.

Vehicles trying to drive out will get stuck in the mud, Burning Man organizers said Saturday. “It will hamper Exodus if we have cars stuck on roads in our camping areas, or on the Gate Road out of the city,” the organizers added.

“If you are in BRC, please shelter in place & stay safe,” organizers said.

Storms and heavy rains across Nevada flooded other parts of the state and may have led to another death. In Las Vegas, authorities found a person unresponsive and “entangled with debris,” on Saturday morning who is believed to be “a drowning victim,” according to Jace Radke, a spokesperson for the city. An investigation is ongoing, Radke said in a news release.

Dawn brought muddy realization to the Burning Man encampment, where the exit gates remain closed indefinitely because driving is virtually impossible. - Trevor Hughes/USA Today
Dawn brought muddy realization to the Burning Man encampment, where the exit gates remain closed indefinitely because driving is virtually impossible. – Trevor Hughes/USA Today

Difficult conditions, but some stay positive

Some festivalgoers hiked miles on foot in the thick mud to reach main roads while others stayed at their camps, hoping for conditions to improve.

Hannah Burhorn, a first-time attendee at the festival, told CNN people were trudging through the mud barefoot or with bags tied around their feet.

“People who have tried to bike through it and have gotten stuck because it’s about ankle deep,” Burhorn said. The mud is so thick it “sticks to your shoes and makes it almost like a boot around your boot,” she added.

It’s unclear exactly how many people are stranded at the festival, but typically more than 70,000 people attend the weeklong event. It’s being held from August 28 to September 4 this year.

There weren’t any reports of injuries as of Saturday afternoon, Sean Burke, the director of emergency management for Pershing County, told CNN.

Amar Singh Duggal and his friends managed to leave the festival after hiking about 2 miles in the mud, he told CNN. He estimated it took them about 2 hours to get to a main road where they arranged to be picked up and taken to Reno, about a 120-mile drive from the event grounds.

Heavy rain covered the ground with thick mud at Burning Man in Black Rock Desert. - Andrew Hyde
Heavy rain covered the ground with thick mud at Burning Man in Black Rock Desert. – Andrew Hyde

“We made it, but it was pure hell (walking) through the mud,” Duggal said. “Each step felt like we were walking with two big cinder blocks on our feet.”

Among those attending the festival was DJ Diplo and comedian Chris Rock.

Rock posted a video on Instagram of thick mud and Diplo posted a series of videos in which he said a fan offered him and Rock a ride out of the site.

The DJ said they walked several miles and were able to get to a nearby airport.

Meanwhile, attendees who typically dedicate their time to making art and building community are now also focused on rationing supplies and dealing with connectivity issues.

“There is super limited bandwidth and a lot of people at the camp (are) trying to cancel flights and arrange for extended time here” due to the weather, Burhorn told CNN via text message from a Wi-Fi camp.

A still from a drone video shows vehicles trying to leave the Burning Man festival on Sunday, September 3. - CNN
A still from a drone video shows vehicles trying to leave the Burning Man festival on Sunday, September 3. – CNN

Still, the poor conditions have not stopped the creativity, said Burhorn, who had traveled from San Francisco.

“People are building mud sculptures,” she said.

Andrew Hyde, another attendee stuck at the Burning Man, said despite the muddy conditions making it difficult to walk, the weather has taken the meaning of the event back to its roots.

“You come out here to be in a harsh climate, and you prepare for that,” Hyde told CNN’s Paula Newton. “So in many ways, everybody here just kind of made friends with their neighbors and it’s a community event.”

Morale at the event is OK and there’s generally no panic among the attendees, Hyde said, describing music returning overnight.

There are worries about the additional rain causing delays, however, and the unknowns of worsening conditions.

“I think the concern is if we have another rain,” he said. “People need to go back to their jobs, back to the responsibilities they have back home.”

Assistance brought in

A rainbow appears at Burning Man in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, on September 2, 2023. - Andrew Hyde
A rainbow appears at Burning Man in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, on September 2, 2023. – Andrew Hyde

Organizers announced Saturday night they’ll be putting mobile cell trailers in different positions, configuring the organization’s Wi-Fi system for public access and deploying buses to nearby Gerlach to take people who might walk off the playa to Reno.

“This is not likely a 24-hour operation at this time,” the festival said in a statement on its website.

Organizers are also resourcing four-wheel-drive vehicles and all-terrain tires to help ferry medical and other urgent situations to the blacktop.

There have been people who managed to walk to a main road and were waiting for transport from the festival organizers Saturday night, the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said.

Resources have been brought in from around northern Nevada to help people with medical needs on the event grounds, the sheriff’s office said.

“Burning Man is a community of people who are prepared to support one another,” Burning Man said on its website. “We have come here knowing this is a place where we bring everything we need to survive. It is because of this that we are all well-prepared for a weather event like this.”

“We have done table-top drills for events like this,” organizers added. “We are engaged full-time on all aspects of safety and looking ahead to our Exodus as our next priority.”

CNN’s Gene Norman, Paradise Afshar, Sharif Paget, Christal Hayes, Michelle Watson and Angela Fritz contributed to this report.

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One dead, another injured after shooting at Louisiana high school football game

Chris Cwik Sat, Sep 2, 2023

A student was killed and another person was injured after a shooting occurred during a high school football game Friday at Port Allen High School in Louisiana.

The West Baton Rouge School Board released a statement Saturday confirming that a student was killed during the shooting, which took place at halftime during the Port Allen-Brusly High School game.

The full statement read:

“We are deeply saddened by the shooting that took place at the Port Allen High/Brusly High football game on Friday night. Our first priorities at this time are to assist the family of the student who died, and all our students, and to assist the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office in its investigation.

“Although we had extra security at this game, it ended in a tragic incident. At this time, we ask for prayers for all involved. We will have crisis teams ready to talk with and assist our students at our high schools when classes resume Tuesday morning. And while we do not expect any problems at school, we will have an increased security presence at schools for the coming period.

“We will not issue any information on the shooting. Any requests for more information about the incident or those involved should be made to the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.

“‘We have on-going programs in our schools that teach students ways to resolve disputes with their peers. We will re-double those efforts and work with the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and others in the coming months to teach our students that violence destroys many people’s lives,” said superintendent Chandler Smith. ‘Our prayers are with everyone touched by this tragedy. In times like these our entire community grieves. By loving and supporting each other, we will get through it.’”

The rest of the game was canceled following the shooting. The name of the student who was killed was not released.

West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Landon Groger said Friday that no arrest was made in the shooting, according to WAFB 9 in Baton Rouge. Police are still investigating the incident.

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