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Defendant who fled scene of deadly Pleasantville High School football shooting held for trial

The charges stem from an incident at Friday’s Pleasantville-Camden state playoff game, during which the defendants saw a rival in the bleachers and one of them allegedly opened fire around 8:30 p.m., shooting three people, and sending hundreds of frightened players and fans scrambling for safety.

Defendant Vance Golden, 26, of Pleasantville, speaks with his attorney Jake Bayak at a court hearing on the Pleasantville football shooting.
Defendant Vance Golden, 26, of Pleasantville, speaks with his attorney Jake Bayak at a court hearing on the Pleasantville football shooting.Read moreTYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer

MAYS LANDING, N.J. — Vance Golden, 26, one of four men who fled a Pleasantville High School football game in a BMW last week after gunshots fatally wounded a 10-year-old boy, was ordered held for trial on weapons charges Thursday.

With additional sheriff’s deputies in the courtroom, Golden, of Pleasantville, wearing the black-and-white-striped prison uniform of a high-profile defendant, was ruled a risk to public safety by Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury and will remain in custody pending trial.

DeLury noted the potential for witness intimidation for a crime committed in front of hundreds of people gathered for the Nov. 15 Pleasantville-Camden state high school playoff game. “There are numerous witnesses in the community,” he said.

At last Friday’s game, authorities say, the defendants saw a rival in the bleachers and one of them opened fire about 8:30 p.m., shooting three people and sending players and fans scrambling for safety.

The boy, Micah Tennant, sustained a gunshot wound to the neck. Despite receiving immediate care in the bleachers from a retired Pleasantville battalion chief, the boy never regained consciousness and died Wednesday afternoon at Cooper University Hospital in Camden.

» READ MORE: Hours after 10-year-old victim dies, South Jersey teams play at the Linc to finish game interrupted by shooting

Six men have been charged. Three of them — Golden, Michael Mack, 27, of Atlantic City, and Tyrell Dorn, 28, of Atlantic City — had court appearances Thursday.

The alleged shooter, Alvin Wyatt of Atlantic City, is held on murder and attempted murder charges and will have a hearing on Wednesday. He also is accused of firing the shots that wounded a 15-year-old boy and Wyatt’s intended target, Ibn Abdullah of Atlantic City, who remains hospitalized and also has been charged. The sixth defendant, Shahid Dixon, 27, of Atlantic City, was being detained in an unrelated case.

“The defendant was involved in a particularly dangerous episode of gun violence that endangered the safety of hundreds of people gathered in a place of public assembly for a high school sporting event,” DeLury said of Golden. “The firearms offenses do not completely reflect the gravity of the circumstances involved.”

» READ MORE: N.J. firefighter recalls words to boy shot at Camden-Pleasantville football game: ‘I told him to keep fighting’

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy said Golden’s criminal history, including a robbery committed as a 17-year-old, made him a danger to the community, in addition to the acts of fleeing the scene, eluding police, and throwing the gun out of the car in this case.

Golden’s attorney, Jake Bayak, said another defendant had admitted to throwing the gun out of the car, that Golden was mostly “along for the ride,” and that his culpability would prove to be less than others charged.

Levy said Dixon was already being detained because the new charges constituted a violation of a condition of an earlier case adjudicated in drug court. Dixon allegedly told investigators that he used FaceTime to give Wyatt the location “in the bleachers” of Abdullah.

» READ MORE: Camden community gathers in solidarity and support after shooting at Camden-Pleasantville football game

Mack appeared briefly in court Thursday, but his hearing was postponed.

Dorn also appeared briefly in court Thursday, but his detention hearing was also postponed until Wednesday.

“My client is not directly involved in the shooting,” Dorn’s attorney, Michael Schreiber, told DeLury. “He is allegedly in a car that is stopped after the shooting.

“He is not involved in any shooting of a 10-year-old boy,” Schreiber said. “He is mortified that he’s been associated with that.”

Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said after the hearings that the three communities involved, Pleasantville, Camden, and Atlantic City, were places of resilience.

“It certainly affects everyone,” Tyner said, noting the Camden football players held a moment of silence for the boy outside Cooper on Wednesday on their way to finish the game at Lincoln Financial Field.

“It speaks volumes about the sportsmanship and the closeness of the communities in times of tragedies,” Tyner said. “As many times as they may be painted in a different light, I know them to be resilient communities that really rally around one another in times of need.”

Micah’s mother, Angela Tennant of Atlantic City, posted Wednesday night on Facebook, saying about her son: “This kid was so different Big Personality … Big Smile & Big Dreams!” The boy was a fifth grader at the Uptown School Complex.