A 10-year-old boy fighting for his life since he was shot Friday night at a high school football game in Pleasantville, New Jersey, has died.
Charges against the alleged shooter were upgraded to murder, Atlantic County Prosecutors said in a statement on Wednesday.
Five New Jersey men and a juvenile were arrested after shots rang out during a football game between between Camden and Pleasantville high schools, sending players and spectators running for cover.
As 10-year-old Micah Tennant was rushed to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in critical condition, officers on the scene and those from the Absecon Police Department nabbed the suspects.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said charges against 31-year-old Alvin Wyatt have been upgraded to one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
“On behalf of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, we would like to express our sincere condolences to the Tennant family on the tragic passing of Micah,” Tyner said. “Words at this time seem so insufficient to portray the anger and outrage that our community feels regarding his loss. However, his spirit will live on in so many people that he inspired.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy sent condolences to the family, saying “We are all devastated by the news.”
“No child deserves to have their promising life cut short, especially by indiscriminate and senseless gun violence. No parent deserves to bury their child,” Murphy said in a statement.
Michael Mack, 27, Tyrell Dorn, 28, Shahid Dixon, 27, and Vance Golden, 26, were charged with unlawful possession of a weapon in connection to the shooting. Authorities have not released the identity of the alleged juvenile offender.
Ibn Abdullah was sent to the hospital, and a 15-year-old boy, who suffered a graze wound was treated and released, authorities said.
The suspects all were spectators at the game. During the third quarter, witnesses said shots were fired into the stands.
The shooting, at Pleasantville High School near Atlantic City, continues a troubling nationwide trend of shootings at or around high school football games that stretches back to at least August.
“Unlike some of the shootings that have occurred on school premises throughout the country, this incident had nothing to do with the students of Pleasantville High School or Camden High School,” Tyner said Saturday. “The venue simply presented an opportunity for criminals to pursue their own form of petty vengeance against one another. As a result, an innocent child was caught and injured in their crossfire. Our community will not be held hostage by a few idiots intent on jeopardizing our safety and the safety of our children.”
At least a half a dozen shots were fired, according to witnesses who spoke to Philadelphia ABC station WPVI.
Video from the scene showed spectators running for safety as players and referees sought cover by lying down on the field.
After the shooting, Dixon, Dorn, Golden and Mack allegedly fled the scene in a car without headlights on, prosecutors said. An Absecon police officer attempted to stop the vehicle and saw a firearm get thrown out the window onto the Route 30 Bridge. The car eventually stopped and the quartet were arrested.
“When the shooting happened, it was mayhem,” said eyewitness Jonathan Diego. “I mean, it literally was just people coming in waves, running away from the right-hand side of the field towards the high school. And I think part of the fence was actually busted down from bodies of people just going over the fence. And there was just a lot of people afraid. There were kids getting separated from their parents running around the field.”
“High school playoff football should be a cause for community celebration, not the backdrop for panic and terror,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “I am grateful for the lifesaving, swift actions of first responders to tend to the wounded, and our prayers are with the victims for a swift and full recovery.”
Abdullah, 27, the intended target of the shooting, was charged separately with unlawful possession of a handgun because he is a felony offender and is not permitted to carry a gun, police and prosecutors said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.
An investigation is ongoing, Riggin added.
The game was suspended following the incident. No Camden students were injured in the shooting, according to officials with the Camden City School District.
Earlier this week, the Philadelphia Eagles offered their stadium as a place where the game could be finished. The teams resumed the game on Wednesday afternoon.
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The shooting comes two months after two teens were shot during a football game at Philadelphia’s Simon Gratz High School.
That shooting, on Sept. 20, marked at least the fifth week in a row that a shooting had taken place during a high school football game in the U.S.
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