MANASSAS, Va. – The search continues for a man who shot two people during a Sunday morning youth football game at a college in Manassas.
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A witness said the shooting, which injured two men, happened a few meters from where four-year-old children were playing.
Prince William County Police said they responded at around 10:15 a.m. to Benton Middle School at 7411 Hoadly Road. They said both victims should survive.
Dean Ladson, parent and organizer of 703 United Youth Football, said the children playing on Sunday ranged in age from 4 to 14. He said there were a few hundred children and spectators.
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“People freaked out and now you’re scrambling to find your child,” Ladson said. “Like my son, he’s 11, he plays and so he wasn’t around me.”
Ladson said when he saw the men arguing on the sidelines, he went to try to defuse the situation. He said he was right next to the shooter when this man pulled out his gun and opened fire.
“Then he runs off up the hill,” Ladson said. “It happened so fast. You have all these kids running around and I’m saying this: a little left, a little right, you’re going to hit a kid.”
He said people were in disbelief. The police call it a chaotic scene. Ladson said he called 911 and went to pick up his son.
“He’s fine. He made a statement to my wife, she asked how he was doing, he said he was just glad to be alive,” Ladson said. “And that’s hard for an 11-year-old to say.”
Ladson obtained photos of police carrying one of the shooting victims to the field.
“The first responders who arrived on the scene did an outstanding job of trying to reach victims quickly,” Prince William County Police Deputy Chief Jarad Phelps said.
Pheps said investigators are still trying to identify the shooter and need help. He said many witnesses left before he could speak to the police.
“We could have had more than two casualties today,” Phelps said. “We certainly could have had injured children, it was a very dangerous situation.”
Ladson thinks there were people at the game who knew who the shooter was and he says they have to do the right thing.
“Bring this gentleman to justice,” he said. “Because we can’t have that. It’s youth football, they’re babies there. I call them precious cargo.”
Detectives said they were looking for a suspect described as a black male of medium skin tone, between 5’6″-5’10” and a slim build.
Anyone with information should call the Prince William County Police Department at 703-792-7000.