JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A teenage student shot Friday night just minutes before the end of a spring football game at Terry Parker High School in Arlington is now in stable condition, authorities said.
The shooting happened about 9 p.m. on school property just outside the fenced-in area of the football field. Duval Public Schools Police Department Director Micheal Edwards said there were four minutes left in the game at the time when a student, described as a teenage boy, was shot.
The teen was taken to UF Health hospital, with life-threatening injuries but his condition was upgraded to stable.
Officials did not release his age and the name of the school he attends, but family said he is 16 years old. News4Jax was also told he's a student at Raines High School.
"Senseless, just terrible, everybody was just enjoying the football game and it just, you know, ruined everything. It was a terrible sight. I mean you know the kid right there over in front of the gates that was laying down and it was just terrible because then it was obvious it was very real that somebody had been shot, just terrible," said parent Dylan Hess.
Bill Pollackov is an Athletics Booster Association member at Terry Parker High School. He says he was in the concession stand when he heard the gunshot. He said he was impressed with school police and JSO for their quick reaction to the shooting and making everyone feel safe and secure.
"My daughter who is a 15-year-old freshman said after (it happened) the staff handled this really well and I didn’t feel unsafe," Pollackov said.
Dr. Diana Greene, superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, and Megan Pardue, principal of Terry Parker High, both offered their thoughts to the student's family.
"I want to convey my sympathy to the family, and our thoughts and prayers are right now focused on this young man and hoping that he will recover. Yes, it is frustrating because I care for each and every one of our students. And their safety is of vital importance to our school district,” Greene said.
Pardue said she wants to make sure what happened Friday night doesn't affect the school.
"Proud to be a Brave and don't want that to change," she said.
She also shared a message for parents of Terry Parker students: "Continue to trust what we're doing here.”
Andre' Ellis, with the website DuvalSports.com, first reported shots were fired outside the stadium during the spring football game between Terry Parker and Ribault. Ellis posted a photo to social media that showed players lying on the ground as a safety precaution.
"I heard the noise. When I turned around, I saw everybody running," one Terry Parker football player told News4Jax. "I was trying to see if my family was straight."
Edwards said between 1,000 and 1,500 people were in the football stadium at the time of the incident.
"I heard one loud gunshot and everyone took off running in different directions. People were running in different directions of the stadium," a mother told News4Jax by phone. "The general area where it happened is where most people were running. Others were running down stands, trying to grab little ones. It was craziness. Players were told to get on the ground. It was crazy."
"It's frightening. You're trying to have a form of safe entertainment when you come to the games. It's just not safe," she said. "I just started looking for my son. He was out there on the field, I was just trying to find out where he was, like, all I could do is just look at the numbers on the back of the jersey."
Duval County Public Schools endured a tragedy in Week 1 of the 2018 season following a shooting outside the gates of the Raines-Lee football game. One person was killed and two were injured in the shooting, which prompted a change in both security and game times at select schools. Kickoff times were rearranged for rivalry games, including Mandarin-Sandalwood, Raines-First Coast and Lee-Westside among several others. Game times were 10 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
In 2012, there was a shooting that followed a Raines-Lee game. That shooting left a 20-year-old severely injured.
As for the spring game Friday night, according to Edwards, everyone going inside the stadium was wanded before entering the game, but the shooting took place outside the area of wanding and security. He could not release the exact number of officers at the game, but said the amount there was the amount that was supposed to be there.
Greene said lighting changes were made after the Raines shooting, but added that school leaders will have the summer to review safety procedures and practices.
"When we see violence that we can’t explain, it is always going to lead to concern and frustration. But I have a great amount of confidence in our police department and our collaboration with JSO," Greene said.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is the lead agency investigating Friday night's shooting.
There have been no arrests in the case and police have announced any suspects in the shooting.
If you have any information that could lead to an arrest, you're urged to call 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).
You don't have to give your name and could be eligible for a reward of up to $3,000.
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