VIDEO: Couple remember panicking at Essex County football game as gunshots rang out
ESSEX COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – A minor is in custody, along with several other people of interest identified, according to the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, after two MPs were assaulted and gunshots were fired sounded during a high school football game on Friday.
Jason and Tressie Lacks were at the Essex-King & Queen game. Their son plays for the Royal Tigers, who were the visiting team, and Jason films the games for King & Queen.
“While I was filming the game, [I] I noticed out of the corner of my eye a group of kids running towards the parking lot, ”Jason said. “[I] looked in the parking lot, and it was a bunch of people including the Essex County Sheriff’s Office over there.
According to authorities’ information, what Jason described was a brawl that broke out outside the football stadium ticket booth and spread in the high school parking lot around 8:23 p.m. The game was in its third quarter. During this altercation, the deputies were attacked. They were seen at Tappahannock VCU Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Then at around 8:32 p.m., several shots were fired in the high school parking lot, prompting staff at Essex County High School to activate a panic alarm.
Moments later, a second round of shots was reportedly fired near the softball field. Emergency protocols were put in place and the football match was interrupted. All players, coaches and participants were invited to take cover and move to the visitors’ side of the football field.
Shortly after, the sheriff’s office said a dark-colored SUV and a white sedan, heading towards Tappahannock Boulevard, drove past the high school and fired several shots. Although authorities searched for the two cars, they managed to leave the area.
“I think it took three or four shots before everyone realized what was going on and everyone started running towards the football field,” Jason said. “The boys on the football field, they ran off to the locker room. So, I mean, like I said, it’s like you see in the movies. Everyone just started to run in all directions. It was so crazy.
Across the pitch, in the visitors section, Tressie and two of their three daughters were present.
“I had just sent my 13 year old daughter for a drink with a group of friends at the concession stand and she was all the way to the other side of the field so I couldn’t put my eyes on her, and that was the hard thing, ”Tressie said. “While everyone was running and going crazy, because no one really knew at that point what was going on or what to do, we were trying to go against everyone who was running, trying to get down to it. shelter, trying to find her and scream for her.
Tressie said finding her daughter finally was the biggest relief. She then took cover behind a building on the field visitors’ side and picked up the phone.
“I called my mom because, at the time, I just thought she was an active shooter,” Tressie said. “I just thought it was another school shootout, another person here who is ready to take people out, and I called her to tell her that I love her, and I just wanted her to know that I loved him and that I had everyone here with me. “
Jason and Tressie thanked the Essex County Sheriff’s Office for quickly getting the scene under control, as well as staff at both schools for their willingness to stay and help those in attendance at the game. Although she said it seemed like forever to her, Tressie said their family was able to quit the game around 9 p.m., around 40 minutes after the first incident.
On Saturday morning, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office said there had been no reports of injuries by bystanders.
“It was really good sportsmanship on and off the pitch between the players and the people,” said Jason. “I will still be at the football field every Friday supporting the Tigers. “
When the school panic alarm went off, the game was suspended minutes from the end of the third quarter. Essex led 7-6. The public has not been informed if the match will be rescheduled to end the game clock.
Anyone with information, including photos or videos of the incidents that took place, are encouraged to contact authorities by calling or texting 804-443-3248.