As bullets rang out at a South Florida high school football game Friday night, hundreds of people took to social media in panic, fearing that the gunfire was coming from a shooter looking to kill students or fans.
Parents and children stampeded out of bleachers as people trampled one another. Amid the chaos, a helicopter landed on the football field as Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies with rifles swarmed through the crowd.
Two men ended up in the hospital, one the father of a linebacker from William T. Dwyer High School, according to the Palm Beach Post. The Post reported that Daniel Foster Sr., 39, is in stable condition; he was shot in the torso. The other victim hasn’t been identified but is 29 and listed as critical but stable, according to police.
The two armed suspects, who approached the victims near the ticket booth, are still at large, officials said.
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Saturday afternoon, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric L. Bradshaw addressed reporters at a news conference with one main message to the public:
“This was not a school shooting. There was no active shooter. The bottom line is that this was a specific, targeted shooting,” he said.
Bradshaw said the suspects had “past dealings” with the victims, “not in the most pleasant of circumstances, and that is why they were out for each other.
“The people that were targeted were looking for the two individuals. [The suspects] had information that they might be at a football game, but they could have been in a bowling alley,” he said. “The bad guys in this were not there to shoot students . They were not there to go in and randomly kill a bunch of people. They knew who they were looking for and they happened to be able to find them on the perimeter of that football field.”
Added Palm Beach Chief Deputy Mike Gauger: “This unfortunately was an act of community violence that happened to spill onto a high school campus.”
The case is under investigation. The department said it is looking at ways it can enhance security at school events.
“The victims know who did this. We’re gonna find out who did this and were going to apprehend them,” Bradshaw said, emphasizing that “It’s safe to go to school Monday. There is no active shooter running around that is going to go back to the school.”