A child was killed Friday night when gunfire erupted at a Delaware County high school sports complex minutes after a season-opening football game had ended, according to authorities.
Two other people were reported injured, but details were few Saturday, including whether any arrests had been made.
“The Delaware County DA’S office is conducting an active and ongoing investigation of this horrific and tragic incident,” prosecutors said in a statement Saturday morning. “We will update the community when appropriate. For now we offer our condolences to the family of the child lost last night.”
Jack McCaffery, a sportswriter for the Delaware County Daily Times, was at the game at Academy Park High School’s football field in Sharon Hill when he wrote on Twitter just before 9 p.m. that multiple shots had been fired.
McCaffery reported players and coaches for Academy Park and Pennsbury High School were still on the field when seven shots rang out, and all rushed to take cover. No players or coaches were reported injured.
According to 6abc, a 7-year-old girl died at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia of a gunshot to the neck. A witness said the child had grabbed her around the leg after being shot and then fell to the ground.
“This was a traumatic event for those involved and our counselors are available to provide assistance to our players,” the superintendent of schools at Pennsbury, Thomas A. Smith, wrote in a letter to the school community that was also signed by the high school’s co-principals, Lisa Becker and Reggie Meadows.
They said Pennsbury coaches administered first aid at the sports complex and directed players to safety. Counselors and administrative staff met the players Friday night when they returned to the high school in Fairless Hills, Bucks County. Counselors were also made available Saturday morning.
Similar support was being offered by Southeast Delco School District at Academy Park High School, from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and will continue Sunday, “for any community member who needs it,” according to an announcement on the district’s website.
Parents and other supporters of the football teams took to social media Saturday to express their horror, offer condolences to the family of the child who was killed, and urge anyone with information about the shooting to call police.
Rachel Atkinson-Beighley, president of the Pennsbury Football Parents Club, said the shooting was “truly like a scene in a movie.”
“I’m still in shock,” she wrote on Facebook. “Sending prayers to the 7yr old little girl’s family, an innocent life taken for no reason and prayers to the other 2 women who were injured.”
Atkinson-Beighley also thanked parents who stayed with players as they hid behind bleachers, and coaches “for keeping them safe while we all worked together to find the safest path to get them to the buses.”
Two hours after the Twitter account for Academy Park Football touted the team’s 42-0 victory over Pennsbury, another post clarified that the score posting had occurred prior to the shooting, adding, in part, “We are heartbroken as a community.”
Later on, it called on anyone with information about the shooter or shooters to come forward.
“It’s not snitching. It’s the right thing to do,” the tweet read.