The gunfire, outside of the stadium, did not hit any players or spectators, but forced the game to be canceled.
Passionate parents and supporters cheered on their teams Tuesday night at the Collinwood Athletic Complex on East 152nd Street. The Westside United, in the pink, played the Ginn Elite, in gray and red, in a semi-finals game.
“These are children that are working their butts off doing something that is not getting them into any trouble and it’s senseless,” said Teresa Dickerson, whose grandson is a player.
“Senseless” describes what happened Saturday afternoon when the teams tried to play the game at Robert “Bump” Taylor Field a few miles away on Durant Avenue.
“It was a silver Charger riding around, just circling around doing donuts, doors open, guns out, just shooting around our kids. Like, our kids can’t play. This is ridiculous. Do that somewhere else” said another player’s mother, Cynthia Sullivan.
“They were hanging out the window with guns pointed towards the field, like that’s very, very scary for my son, my daughter who cheers, to be out there,” said Vanessa Dickerson, whose son also plays.
Witnesses say the people riding around were wearing hoods and masks, but did not appear to shoot at the field.
“The normal routine, our kids get down, stop play for maybe about two to three minutes, then we resume play. Then after that, we restarted again, some more gunfire, same thing. After the third gunfire, we canceled the game,” said Anthony Martin, game day operations manager.
Parents say coaches informed the young players what to do in case of an emergency.
“He talked to the boys before the game about ‘lockdown,’ so when he said ‘lockdown’ on the field, the boys knew to drop to the floor because they knew what a lockdown was,” said Sullivan.
“I just think that it’s sad that they know what ‘hit the deck’ is. They know to lay on the ground to be safe, that’s just sad. Let’s come together and protect our children and let them have fun,” said Teresa Dickerson.
Tuesday night, as the boys ran up and down the field at Collinwood, it appeared the violence on Saturday was far from their minds.
“These little boys are trying to do something and stay off the streets and do something productive, look what happened,” Vanessa Dickerson.
“Too much violence. I mean, something has to change. I’ve been doing this for 37 years and it’s not getting any better and something, we have to do. These are our kids, these are our babies. We can’t give up on the these kids,” said Martin.
Cleveland police say around the same time the Saturday game was happening at Bump Field, a 10-year old girl was shot in the leg and survived.
Police say they have no reason to believe it was connected to the football game.