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Game Zero: Spread of coronavirus linked to a Champions League game in Italy on Feb. 19

By Tales Azzoni and Andrew Dampf
Associated Press | Mar 25, 2020

It was the biggest soccer game in Atalanta’s history and a third of Bergamo’s population made the short trip to Milan’s famed San Siro Stadium.

Nearly 2,500 fans of visiting Spanish club Valencia also traveled to that Champions League match.

More than a month later, experts are pointing to the Feb. 19 game as one of the biggest reasons why Bergamo has become one of the epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic — a “biological bomb” was the way one respiratory specialist put it — and why 35% of Valencia’s team became infected.

The match, which local media have dubbed “Game Zero,” was held two days before the first case of locally transmitted COVID-19 was confirmed in Italy.

“We were mid-February so we didn’t have the circumstances of what was happening,” Bergamo Mayor Giorgio Gori said this week during a live Facebook chat with the Foreign Press Association in Rome. “If it’s true what they’re saying that the virus was already circulating in Europe in January, then it’s very probable that 40,000 Bergamaschi in the stands of San Siro, all together, exchanged the virus between them. As is possible that so many Bergamaschi that night got together in houses, bars to watch the match and did the same.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t have known. No one knew the virus was already here,” the mayor added. “It was inevitable.”

Less than a week after the game, the first cases were reported in the province of Bergamo.

At about the same time in Valencia, a journalist who traveled to the match became the second person infected in the region, and it didn’t take long before people who were in contact with him also had the virus, as did Valencia fans who were at the game.

While Atalanta announced its first positive case Tuesday for goalkeeper Marco Sportiello, Valencia said more than a third of its squad got infected, “despite the strict measures adopted by the club” after the match in Milan.

As of Tuesday, nearly 7,000 people in the province of Bergamo had tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 1,000 people had died from the virus — making Bergamo the most deadly province in all of Italy for the pandemic. The Valencia region had more than 2,600 people infected.

Luca Lorini, the head of the intensive care unit at the Pope John XXIII hospital in Bergamo, currently has 88 patients under his care with the coronavirus; not including many more in other parts of the hospital.

“I’m sure that 40,000 people hugging and kissing each other while standing a centimeter apart — four times, because Atalanta scored four goals (the final result was 4-1) — was definitely a huge accelerator for contagion,” Lorini told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

“Right now we’re at war. When peace time comes, I can assure you we will go and see how many of the 40,000 people who went to the game became infected,” Lorini added. “Right now we have other priorities.”

Silvio Brusaferro, the head of Italy’s Superior Institute of Health, said over the weekend at the nightly nationally televised briefing by the civil protection agency that the game was “one of the hypotheses” being evaluated as a source of the crisis in Bergamo.

“It’s certainly an analysis that can be made,” Brusaferro said.

By last week, Bergamo’s cemetery became so overwhelmed by the number of dead that military trucks began transporting bodies to a neighboring region for cremation.

Italy remained the European country with the most cases, nearly 70,000, and with almost 7,000 deaths — the most worldwide and more than twice as many as China.

Spain is the next country in Europe with the most cases, nearly 48,000, and it has surpassed China in the number of deaths with more than 3,400.

More than 435,000 people worldwide have been infected and the number of dead closed in on 20,000, according to the running count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Overall, more than 100,000 have recovered.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

The official attendance for the Feb. 19 game was 45,792 — a “home” record for Atalanta, a small club making its debut in Europe’s top club competition.

Atalanta captain Alejandro “Papu” Gómez told Argentine daily Olé it was “terrible” to have played that game.

“It’s a city of 120,000 people and that day (40,000) went to the San Siro,” the Argentine said. “It was a historic match for Atalanta, something unique. To give you an idea, my wife took three hours to get to Milan, when that trip normally takes 40 minutes.”

The game was played in Milan because Atalanta’s stadium in Bergamo didn’t meet the requirements set by European soccer governing body UEFA.

Before the match, Valencia fans freely roamed around Milan and gathered at some of the city’s plazas, including the Piazza del Duomo, drinking and chanting team songs.

Looking back, the conditions for virus contagion were high, with thousands of people gathering without much concern — at a time when the outbreak in Europe wasn’t yet known — and then traveling back home. Nearly 30 busloads of fans made the 60-kilometer (37-mile) trip from Bergamo to Milan.

The evening before the match, there was no social distancing as officials from both clubs mingled and exchanged gifts and handshakes at a gala dinner offered by Atalanta.

“I have heard a lot (of theories), I’ll say mine: Feb. 19, 40,000 Bergamaschi went to San Siro for Atalanta-Valencia,” Fabiano di Marco, the chief pneumologist at the hospital in Bergamo, told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. “In buses, cars, trains. A biological bomb, unfortunately.”

Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay was the first Spanish league player to test positive for COVID-19. The team played a Spanish league game against Alavés about two weeks after the game in Milan, and later Alavés reported that 15 people in the club were infected, though it did not say the cases were directly related to the match against Valencia.

Italian soccer players’ association president Damiano Tommasi believes sports authorities should look long and hard at the Atalanta match before restarting leagues.

“Look at what’s happening in China, where players are testing positive for the coronavirus now — despite all the safety rules and precautions being taken,” Tommasi told the AP, referring to a recent positive test for former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini with Chinese club Shandong Lunen.

Fellaini’s positive test was alarming because, while the outbreak began spreading in China, the virus has reportedly been receding there.

“It’s not going to be enough to just test the athletes,” Tommasi added. “The entire setting needs to be safe. Because if one team is stuck, it blocks the entire system.”

After winning the first leg, Atalanta advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals following another victory in the second leg on March 10, which was played in an empty Mestalla Stadium in Valencia after Spanish authorities prohibited games involving teams from northern Italy to be played with fans. A few thousand Valencia supporters gathered at the Mestalla to welcome the team, though, and to watch the match together in nearby bars and restaurants.

Over the past month, Atalanta has mourned the deaths of five former staff members. While announcements on the club website made no mention of the virus, local media have reported that at least four of them died with COVID-19.

Still, only one positive test from Atalanta has been announced.

“Some squads have chosen not to test their players unless they show symptoms,” Tommasi said. “Other squads tested everyone. These are individual choices.

“The head of the civil protection agency has talked about the likelihood that for every proven positive case there are probably 10 actual positives. … The high number of positives at Valencia makes you wonder.”

With the Champions League suspended because of the pandemic, Atalanta has no idea when it might play in the quarterfinals — which again would be the club’s biggest game in its history. In the meantime, both the Bergamo team and Valencia are left wondering about the unforeseen effects of their match in February.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-nw-coronavirus-game-zero-soccer-20200325-hwdk44wipfacvd5pwozgcp7biu-story.html

What really happened with the Barstool Storm Chasers at the UConn game

What really happened with the Barstool Storm Chasers at the UConn game

Thursday night at Gampel Pavilion, the Huskies upset No. 21 Houston on their senior night in one of the team’s biggest wins of the season. However, a lot of media attention went toward the three men from Barstool Sports who were there “chasing a storm.”

The three men, Adam Ferrone, Caleb Pressley and their producer Andrew Enriquez, who goes by “Chef Donnie,” were arrested and removed from the game early in the second half. All three were charged with criminal trespassing. Pressley and Enriquez were also getting charged with interfering with an officer.

Ferrone and Pressley, known by their fans as “Storm Chasers,” travel to basketball games across the country looking for a home underdog to upset a ranked opponent. As is customary in a lot of these upsets, they try to storm the court with the student section, hence why they call themselves Storm Chasers.

I spoke to Ferrone, who goes by “Rone,” shortly after they were released from the UConn Police Station Thursday night.

“We are on a country wide-journey called Storm Chasers. What we do is we go from campus to campus and we go to schools where there is likely to be a court storming, so like an unranked home team against a ranked opponent,” Ferrone said.

UConn wasn’t the first stop on their search, and in fact, it was their third in the northeast in three nights.

“Two nights ago we went to Rutgers and they stormed the court. They had the red carpet rolled out for us, they had us ready to go in the student section, it was amazing,” Ferrone said. “Then last night we went to Rhode Island and they took great care of us. They brought us on the court and in the front row of the student section. They didn’t storm the court, but it was still an awesome time.”

Rutgers upset No. 9 Maryland Tuesday night 78-67, prompting a court storming. URI, on the other hand, got blown out by No. 3 Dayton 84-57, so those fans left the game from their seats instead of from the hardwood.

“With those last two games being so big, tonight [Thursday] we had tons of people hitting us up from UConn telling us to come to the game,” Ferrone said.

According to Ferrone, they bought tickets to the game and had seats outside of the student section. University spokesperson Stephanie Reitz sent a press release Friday that confirmed they had tickets to the game, just not in the student section.

“Outside of the press release, we wouldn’t really comment because with the arrest situation, it would be a pending court case,” UConn Police Deputy Chief Andrew Fournier said. “So we’re going to stick to anything that’s contained in that press release.”

When I called UConn Athletics to ask questions, Assistant Director of Athletic Administration Dominic Godi also referred me to the press release.

“We bought our tickets, sat in our original seats, then came down to the seats they had reserved for us in the front row.” Ferrone said. “There were signs on each of our seats that said, ‘reserved for Barstool Sports.’”

Ferrone sent me a picture of the signs that were placed at their “reserved” seats at the front of the student section. It was a plain, white paper sign that said, “Reserved for Barstool” in all caps in a basic, black font. It is unclear who placed the signs there, but Ferrone said security told him, “Anybody could have made those signs.”

“This section is specifically reserved for currently enrolled UConn students, and not open to non-students,” according to UConn’s press release.

Ferrone claimed that he and his partner Caleb had been in contact with UConn students and members of the ticket office through direct messages on Twitter and Instagram to arrange seating for them in the student section.

“There was probably upwards of 100 DMs if you count my account and Caleb’s account,” Ferrone said. “So I’m not even sure who set out the signs that said ‘reserved for Barstool Sports,’ but it was there on the seats. We were in contact with multiple people.”

Ferrone refused to include the names of any of the people he or his partner were in contact with.

“We were trying to explain it to the cops that this had been set aside, but that’s where the misunderstanding fell into play. They said anybody could have made the signs that had reserved the seats for us,” Ferrone said. “I guess there was a misunderstanding within the department, because people from the ticketing department had invited us.”

When they were told that they were not allowed to be in the student section, the Storm Chasers refused to return to their seats. That was when they were placed under arrest.

“The men refused to leave the student section despite multiple requests from those officials and, eventually, despite direct instruction from UConn Police,” according to the press release. “They were placed under arrest and escorted to Gampel’s lower level below the stands, where two of the men then laid on the ground and made other attempts to resist officers.”

“On the way out there was some jostling and people fell down accidentally,” Ferrone said. “Our producer Donnie wound up going to the ground. He was just kind of holding on to his camera the entire time and did a beautiful job filming us. He wound up getting dragged out by his ankles.”

Donnie put the footage of the trio getting taken out of Gampel on the Storm Chasers social media pages. Donnie and Pressley were charged with interfering with an officer while Ferrone was not, and it appeared to be because they were the two who had gone to the ground.

Pressley joked, “Rone snitched in jail and got lesser charges than we did.”

Pressley said this won’t deter their dedication to further storm attempts.

“We’re married to the game, and we’re faithful,” Pressley said.

According to the press release, “Their motive for remaining in the seats and their identities as social media personalities were not a factor in the actions of the Gampel personnel, police, or on-site security officers. The matter would have been addressed similarly in the case of any non-student patron who took a seat in the student section and repeatedly refused requests to leave.”

The storm chasers also appeared to have at least one fake credential, which Donnie tweeted from his account the next day. The credential says that they were with the Daily Campus, which I can say with confidence they weren’t. The credential also doesn’t look similar to any credential UConn has given the press this year, and has the word “videography” spelled incorrectly.

“Again, none of us were being really combative, we don’t have a problem with the arresting officers. It just seemed like a total miscommunication,” Ferrone said. “Some people were telling us we were allowed to be there, some people were telling us that we weren’t allowed to be there.”

Ferrone also explained that the on-court emcee went over and sat down with them in the student section to let them know that the camera was going to cut to them soon and that they should amp the crowd up. Shortly after that was when security came, then soon after that the police.

The emcee, Conor Geary, refused to comment about the event and referred me to UConn Athletics, who referred me to the press release.

“All we wanted to do was just try to be good fans and rile up the student section,” Ferrone said. “We were driving around campus all day, people were just losing their shit for us.”

I also spoke with a couple of fans from the game were in or around the student section.

“They all came in and sat in the normal section across from the student section and then after, made their way over to our section and everyone went wild,” UConn student Jami Rivera said.

One fan said the student section chanted “let them go” when security and police wanted them out of the section. Footage of that is also on social media.

“The student body was amazing to us. There was an eruption when we got there. We weren’t there to cause trouble, we were there to cheer on the basketball team. That’s what we had been doing for the entire game up until that point,” Ferrone said. “We had come to an understanding, and we thought it would be the same as the other schools where we could just kind of go to the seats that were reserved for us.”

Though UConn beat Houston, there was not a court storming that night. It could be because upsetting a No. 21 team doesn’t necessarily warrant a court storming, especially when the winning team is a program with history as rich as UConn’s.

According to Ferrone, he was sent pictures from UConn students that security had locked arms in front of the student section to prevent a court storming. Due to the spread of coronavirus, teams didn’t shake hands after the game, so this could have been a precaution of that nature. It could also be because senior Christian Vital addressed the crowd for senior night.

Regardless, the only court that will be stormed is Rockville Superior Court, where the Storm Chasers will have their hearing.

https://dailycampus.com/stories/2020/3/9/what-really-happened-with-the-barstool-storm-chasers-at-the-uconn-game


Massive brawl breaks out at end of Kansas-Kansas State game

Ryan YoungWriter

Yahoo SportsJanuary 21, 2020

The end of No. 3 Kansas’ 81-60 win against Kansas State did not go well on Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

Instead, the blowout rivalry game ended in an all-out brawl.

As Kansas started dribbling out the clock while holding a 22-point lead in the final seconds, Kansas State’s DaJuan Gordon stole the ball and started dribbling down the court in an effort to secure one last layup.

Kansas’ Silvio De Sousa, however, sprinted behind Gordon and came up with a massive block as he attempted the layup, sending Gordon down into the baseline.

Almost instantly, both teams swarmed the scene on the baseline, which sparked the wild brawl that spilled down into the crowd and media section underneath the basket. Several punches were thrown in the incident, and De Sousa even picked up a chair at one point, though it was taken away from him before he could do anything with it.

It took several arena staff, coaches, police officers and even cheerleaders to break up the fight.

After things had settled, both teams were called back out from the locker rooms and one-tenth of a second was added back onto the clock. Kansas State hit one free throw from a technical foul out of the incident before the game was officially over.

“I know that we were in the wrong,” Kansas coach Bill Self said, via KSNT’s Pete Francis. “I’m not saying that both parties weren’t in the wrong, but I know that we were in the wrong.

“I was shaking hands with [Kansas State coach Bruce Weber] as the play was going down to the other end. Bruce came down to shake hands, and so I did not see what transpired until everybody started running out there. I didn’t even know that it was a melee until three or four seconds until after everybody was out there … That was an embarrassment on our part for the role that we played in it.”

Self confirmed after the game that De Sousa received a technical foul, and that every bench player from both teams had been ejected from the contest at the end. The only players left were the 10 who were in the game at the time, via CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone.

Weber said he told his team not to foul at the end of the game, too, when Gordon stole the ball.

“You win with class, you lose with class,” Weber said, via the Kansas City Star. “It’s probably my fault. I told them not to press, not to foul, to back off. But the kids are young guys. They want to play hard. They were disappointed, frustrated. You don’t want to take that fire out of their belly but you have to handle it right.

“All we talk about is act right, treat people right, play the right way. That’s been our way at K-State.”

Self said after the game that “there will be consequences,” which he will likely announce on Wednesday after he’s had a chance to review tape of the incident, but that it’s “obvious to me we played a role in what transpired and there will be penalties for that.”

“What happened is zero signs of toughness,” Self said, via Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star. “It’s a sign of immaturity and selfishness more than toughness.”

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long released a statement on Tuesday night, too, saying that he will review the footage with Self, the Big 12 Conference and Kansas State.

“The conduct of a few of our student-athletes at the conclusion of tonight’s game vs. Kansas State was simply unacceptable and not reflective of who we are,” Long said in a statement, via Boone. “Coach Self and I will review the incident, along with the Big 12 Conference and Kansas State to determine the appropriate consequences. There is no place for this conduct in college athletes or here at KU. I would like to apologize to the Big 12 Conference, Kansas State University, [Kansas State athletic director] Gene Taylor, Bruce Weber and all fans for the lack of sportsmanship form members of our team this evening.”

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/massive-fight-breaks-out-end-kansas-kansas-state-basketball-game-bill-self-021543414.html

Teen facing murder charge after victim shot at Dallas high school basketball game dies

BILL HUTCHINSON

ABC NewsJanuary 19, 2020

Teen facing murder charge after victim shot at Dallas high school basketball game dies originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

A 15-year-old boy arrested in a shooting that broke out this month at a high school basketball game in Dallas is now facing a murder charge after one of the victims died from his wounds, police said.

The victim, 18-year-old Marc Strickland, died at 2:59 p.m. on Saturday, a week after being rushed to a hospital with a bullet wound to the chest, according to the Dallas Police Department.

Charges against the suspected gunman, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, were upgraded to murder, police said in a statement.

Strickland was a former student in the Dallas Independent School District and had recently transferred to a charter school, Dallas education officials said.

The shooting unfolded on Jan. 11 during a game between South Oak Cliff and Kimball high schools, prompting players and coaches to duck for cover and fans to race for the exits, video of the incident showed.

A Dallas Independent School District police officer was grazed by a bullet when she attempted to confront the gunman, police said.

The shooting erupted at 9:10 p.m. inside the Ellis Davis Field House in southwest Dallas and followed a physical altercation in the stands, according to authorities. More than 600 people were at the game when it was interrupted by the gunfire, officials said.

The boy suspected of being the shooter surrendered to police the following evening after witnesses identified him through images captured by security cameras and released by police. The suspect was initially charged with two counts of aggravated assault.

Michael Hinojosa, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, said the violence that erupted at the basketball game signaled the city’s long-held “truce” that school sporting events and other extracurricular activities were off-limits as venues for settling feuds had been broken.

While expressing outrage over a surge in gun violence in the city, Hinojosa announced a series measures taken immediately to boost security at school sporting events, including instituting a ban on bags, purses and backpacks. He said spectators would have to either pass through metal detectors or be checked with metal-detecting wands before attending games.

The gun violence at the basketball game mirrors a national trend of shootings at school sporting events. A investigation published in December by ABC News found that of the more than two dozen school shootings in the United States in 2019, 57.6% occurred at the end of or during sporting events, specifically basketball and football games.

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/teen-facing-murder-charge-victim-shot-dallas-high-180237907–abc-news-topstories.html

Dodgers Fan Sues Team for Alleged Lack of Security Leading to Assault

The lawsuit states Dodgers security did not take steps to ensure the plaintiff’s safety.

By City News Service • Published at 5:52 pm on December 5, 2019

A Dodgers fan who alleges the team provided inadequate security and a lack of uniformed Los Angeles police officers the night he was beaten by two other men inside Dodger Stadium during an extra-inning playoff game in 2018 is suing the National League team and his two alleged assailants.

Milton Flores’ Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit names as defendants Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, Guggenheim Baseball Management LP, Guggenheim Baseball Management GP LLC and the two alleged assailants, Robert and Jaime Joe Berumen. The suit does not state the relationship between the Berumens.

The suit filed Wednesday seeks unspecified damages. A Dodgers representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The suit states that “upon information and belief” Dodger Stadium has the highest crime rate of any Major League Baseball venue. The team previously staffed security with off-duty uniformed Los Angeles police officers and both sworn and non-sworn security guards, the suit states.

The team decreased security in 2004, possibly because of former owner Frank McCourt’s financial troubles, the suit states. Four years later, the team began relying solely on security guards in polo shirts, diminishing safety by making police intervention seem less likely to troublemakers, according to the suit.

“This atmosphere emboldened wrongdoers at the stadium,” the suit states.

In August 2018, the Dodgers resumed in-seat sales of beer to fans 21 years old and over who paid with cash or a credit card to vendors at all levels, according to the suit.

Flores and the Berumens were present at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 16, 2018, when the playoff game between the Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers went into the 13th inning before the home team won, 2-1, the suit states. At about 10 p.m. and with the game still tied 1-1, Flores and his son-in-law went to the restroom and encountered the Berumens, who appeared drunk and falsely accused Flores of trying to urinate into a trash can, the suit states.

The Berumens also called Flores a derogatory name suggesting he was not a U.S. citizen, the suit states.

Security guards tried to calm the situation, but did not follow up to confirm that the Berumens returned to their seats, the suit states. The guards also did not eject the Berumens from the stadium or monitor them to make sure they did not drink more alcohol or take steps to reduce the chance they would bother Flores again, according to the suit.

At about 11 p.m., Flores and his daughter went to a smoking area of the stadium and encountered the Berumens there, the suit states. Flores’ daughter accidentally bumped one of the Berumens and apologized, but Robert Berumen shoved the woman and caused her to stumble backward, the suit states.

No security guards were nearby, the suit states.

Flores intervened to help his daughter, but Robert Berumen punched him in the face, causing the plaintiff to fall and hit the back of his head on the ground, the suit states. He lost consciousness and suffered a subdural hematoma, according to the complaint.

Flores’ son-in-law also tried to protect the woman, but Jaime Berumen punched him in the left ear, causing him a laceration and abrasions, the suit states. The son-in-law is not a plaintiff.

Two security guards arrived later and separated the victims from the Berumens, the suit states. Flores regained consciousness, but had amnesia and could not recall such basic information as his address, the suit states.

The Berumens were arrested, according to the suit.

Dodgers management knew of numerous prior similar incidents at Dodger Stadium, yet still maintained a security force without uniformed LAPD officers, the suit alleges.

https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/dodgers-fan-sues-team-alleged-lack-security/2273246/

Yale stuns Harvard as protest draws national attention, dozens of arrests

By Jim Fuller and Dan Haar

Updated 11:27 pm EST, Saturday, November 23, 2019

NEW HAVEN — Spurred by a generational call to action on climate change, hundreds of spectators stormed the Yale Bowl field Saturday in protest, delaying by 40 minutes a Yale-Harvard football game that was momentous even without a collision of sports and political culture.

It was two historic events playing out in parallel. Yale’s double-overtime, comeback win over Harvard — a 50-43 stunner — instantly took on legendary status in the annals of one of college football’s most prestigious rivalries. And likewise, the climate protesters’ uprising at halftime showed the rising sense of urgency, led by students worldwide, that powerful institutions such as Harvard and Yale be forced to reckon with what they call the evils of fossil fuels.

The protesters – Yale Endowment Justice Coalition and Divest Harvard, listed on the pamphlet obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media – demanded with chants and unfurled signs that both universities clear their combined, $71 billion endowments of investments in corporations tied to oil, gas and coal. They also protested the schools’ holdings in Puerto Rico debt, seen as exploitation of a poor, besieged territory of the U.S.

https://www.nhregister.com/colleges/article/Protest-at-Yale-Harvard-delays-start-of-2nd-half-14857798.php

Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting survivors sue organizers of the event

By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde- LA Times
Nov. 12, 2019

Five people injured in a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in July are suing the event’s organizers, saying negligent security contributed to the deadly encounter.

Randall Scarlett, an attorney representing the shooting survivors, filed a lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Tuesday morning, four months after the shooting in Northern California that left three dead and more than a dozen injured. The suit says the Gilroy Garlic Festival Assn. and the security company working the event, First Alarm Security and Inc., should have been aware of the risk of a mass shooting, increased patrols and secured the perimeter at the event.

“They had an entire back area [that] had no monitoring whatsoever,” Scarlett said at a news conference. “What’s the price you’re willing to pay to say the risk is too great? Reasonable steps would have avoided this completely.”

The survivors are seeking an unspecified amount in compensation, partly to cover growing medical costs, according to Scarlett.

Thousands were in attendance at the popular food festival at the “Garlic Capital of the World” in Santa Clara County when a gunman later identified as Santino William Legan opened fire, authorities said. Police initially reported their officers shot Legan dead within minutes, but a coroner’s report revealed the shooter killed himself.

Chief Scot Smithee said the event, founded in 1979, had security checkpoints with metal detectors. But Legan was able to circumvent the festival’s security by entering from a creek area and cutting through a fence.

Scarlett said the area along the fence was not monitored and the barrier itself was an “inadequate, flimsy, low-height, unsupported chain link fence” that was easy to breach, making the wooded area essentially “an open door the length of a football field.”

The area also was surrounded by cars, box trucks and other obstructions, which provided additional cover for the shooter, according to the lawsuit.

“The security we now see at professional sporting events, music concerts and nearly every other organized large-scale public event that occurs daily has been stepped up to reflect our current threats,” the lawsuit states.

Scarlett cited 352 mass shootings this year and 337 in 2018 as evidence that festival organizers should have recognized the threat.

In an emailed statement, the Gilroy Garlic Festival Assn. said: “The lawsuit filed today stemming from a horrific act of domestic terrorism, is not unexpected, and we will respond through the appropriate legal channels. As a non-profit organization, we must remain focused on our mission: fundraising for the entire community of Gilroy and the more than 150 charities that rely on us.”

Security company representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

The famed fest was winding down when gunfire erupted at 5:30 p.m. July 28. Wendy Towner, one of the survivors named in suit, said she saw the shooter near the perimeter bordering Uvas Creek near an inflatable slide surrounded by children.

Towner yelled to divert the gunman’s attention away from the children. At that point, the lawsuit states, Legan shot at her and Francisco Aguilera, another plaintiff.

Towner still seeks medical treatment from the gunshot wound to her leg. Aguilera’s femoral artery was perforated, and he was unconscious when he fell to the ground, the lawsuit states.

As Towner lay on the ground next to Aguilera, Legan approached. He hovered over their prone bodies, changed gun magazines and asked in a cold and unsympathetic voice whether they were OK, according to the lawsuit.

“Had Wendy Towner uttered a word, it is certain the shooter would have shot them both dead,” the suit states.

Legan went on to shoot plaintiffs Nick McFarland, Justin Bates and Brynn Ota-Matthews, among others, the suit alleges.

At the news conference, Towner said she and her family have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“My son’s scared of being out there,” Towner said of Christmas Hill Park, where the festival is held. “He’s only 3. To be honest with you, I myself have not returned to a big event yet. I haven’t been able to bring myself to it.”

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-11-12/gilroy-garlic-festival-shooting-survivors-sue-organizers-of-the-event

String of shootings at high school football games continues with 2 teens injured in Philadelphia

String of shootings at high school football games continues with 2 teens injured in Philadelphia

Sep 21, 2019

For at least the fifth week in a row, a shooting has taken place during a high school football game.

Two teens injured in Philadelphia are the latest victims in a string of shootings that have taken place at or near high school football games across the country.

A 15-year-old and a 14-year-old were shot Friday night during a football game at Philadelphia’s Simon Gratz High School, according to Philadelphia ABC station WPVI.

The sound of the gunshots sent people running across the field as the P.A. announcer called on spectators to evacuate.

“Security, could you please clear the stadium,” the announcer said as spectators sprinted across the field. “Everybody out.”

It was not immediately clear if the shots rang out inside or outside the stadium, but police said multiple shell casings were found outside, according to reports. The shooting halted the game in the second quarter.

Police said no arrests have been made, and a weapon has not been recovered.

“People at the stadium, both the security, the police officers, and those that were present, are all trying to be helpful, but I think it was just such mayhem when the shooting rang out that nobody saw anyone with a gun,” acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner Christine Coulter told WPVI.

The incident comes a week after two people were shot when gunfire erupted during a youth football game in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sept. 14.

After some parents at the game got into a dispute, the shooter opened fire from a small hill overlooking the field, police said.

A woman was struck in the leg and a girl was grazed in the back.

Police arrested Chanita Holly, 39, for making a terroristic threat after witnesses reported hearing her say, “We’re gonna spray this [expletive]” during the argument. Police said they believed Holly placed a call to her son, who later came to the scene to carry out the shooting.

(MORE: 2 injured in shooting at youth football game in Texas)

The day before the Texas shooting, three teenagers were shot Sept. 13 after a high school football game in Newport News, Virginia.

The shooting occurred at the end of a game at John B. Todd Stadium, police said.

A 14-year-old victim was found shot in the stadium’s parking lot, and two 19-year-olds were found on a street near the stadium. The victims were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

“I thought it had to do with the two rival schools,” a fan at the game told TV station WTKR.

Authorities said that an investigation was underway and that they would beef up patrols at future games at the stadium.

(MORE: Three teens shot at high school football game)

One week before that, a man was fatally shot Sept. 6 during a high school football game near Pittsburgh.

Dameian Williams, 48, of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, was shot during a verbal altercation outside Jeannette High School’s McKee Stadium.

The field and the stadium were evacuated with four minutes left in the game, Jeannette’s athletic director told Pittsburgh ABC affiliate WTAE.

Williams was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital.

A suspect identified as 40-year-old Greg Harper, of Jeannette, told police that Williams struck him twice in the head, which knocked him to the ground, and he then shot Williams once in the torso. Harper was arrested on homicide and reckless endangerment charges, according to WTAE.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Jeannette City School District Superintendent Matthew Jones called for increased police presence at the school, WTAE reported.

(MORE: One man dead after shooting during Jeannette football game)

Another shooting incident took place on the same night at a high school football game across the state.

Police said shots were fired after a football game at Morrisville High School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Authorities told WPVI that a shooter in a car after the game fired three shots into another car.

A girl suffered what was described as a “scratch” to her leg in the incident, according to reports. No suspects were identified and no arrests were made in the aftermath of the incident.

(MORE: 10 teens shot at high school football game, 17-year-old arrested)

A week prior, on Aug. 31, police said 10 people were shot following a high school football game in Mobile, Alabama.

The victims in the shooting ranged in age from 15 to 18. They were rushed to area hospitals, officials said.

Deangelo Parnell, 17, was arrested and charged with nine counts of attempted murder, Mobile Police Department spokesman Laderrick Dubose told ABC News.

Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste admonished young people for “bringing their beefs that they have with each other in their neighborhoods” into public settings and “putting people in harm’s way.”

The incident “may have been a directed threat at one or two individuals and other people just happened to fall prey to their carelessness,” Battiste said.

A week before that, on Aug. 24, police responded to reports of a gunshot during a football game at Parkway North High School near St. Louis. Missouri.

Authorities said they believed the gunshot was fired when a series of fights broke out outside the school. Witnesses said a panic started after someone yelled “he has a gun,” according to TV station KMOV.

“Somebody pulled out their gun and then everybody started running because everybody got scared and didn’t know what to do,” one student told the station.

The game, part of a multi-school jamboree, was canceled following the incident.

The school superintendent announced that counseling would be providing to students on the Monday following the shooting.

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Bills will increase police and security presence for home opener to contain unruly fans

Buffalo Bills fans are known for their wild tailgates, but for this season’s home opener they may be stopped from throwing each other off tables and lighting things on fire. With the Bills off to a 2-0 start, officials in the area are worried the scene may be even crazier than normal and are taking precautions at New Era Field. For Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the stadium will be equipped with 300 law enforcement personnel and 300 private security personal in an attempt to contain the crazy.

The Orchard Park area, where the stadium sits, is also planning to increase patrols on the road for the game.

Bills vice president of operations and guest experience Andy Major says that the efforts to control the fans and increase stadium safety is getting better, but there is room for improvement.

“Not that long ago, we averaged 30 (in-stadium) arrests per game and 140 ejections a game,” he told The Buffalo News. “Last year we averaged three arrests and 46 ejections a game. We’re not perfect. We know that.

Local police do not believe the majority of fans cause a disturbance, but that rather a small population tends to get out of hand.

“A small amount of fans will be irresponsible and drink too much. There’s always a few knuckleheads out there who will make it bad for the families,” Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard said.

Bills officials met up with Howard and Orchard Park Police Chief E. Joseph Wehrfritz and decided on a few stadium policy changes. The changes include enforcing the open container laws on roads surrounding the stadium and a loaning a SkyWatch surveillance tower system to the stadium, courtesy of the Buffalo Police Department.

They will be paying particularly close attention to the bus lots, because that is the main spot for fans to jump off vehicles and onto tables that are set on fire. Videos of Bills fans doing stunts like that frequently go viral.

The Bills are increasing the permits for bus and limousine parking and any vehicle that shows up without a permit will be turned away. Stadium lots hold 10,000 vehicles but most fans have pregame celebrations on private lots and in other neighborhoods.

The main message for fans is, according to Major, is this:

“We want fans to have fun and to be safe. Don’t do silly things in the stadium – making the experience for others fans a negative one – or you will be ejected.”

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Alabama school system strengthens security for sports events

9/6/19

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama school district is ramping up security at future sporting events in response to a shooting at a high school football game.

News outlets report spectators at Mobile County high school games will encounter new security protocols on Friday, including metal detectors and a requirement that any bags be made of clear plastic.

The security upgrade comes after at least 10 people were injured in a shooting at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, including six people who were directly shot. A 17-year-old student was arrested.

The new security protocols include increasing the number of police and adding metal detectors to every stadium.

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