PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A youth football league is struggling to recover after their coach was shot in front of young players during practice Friday night.
Boys between the ages of 7 and 10 witnessed their coach being shot several times. It happened at Mellon Park while the East End Raiders were practicing.
Sources say the alleged gunman was angry about a relative not getting playing time.
When Coach Antoine “Fizzy” Lester intervened, the man allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Lester several times.
Fortunately, no one else was hurt.
“It’s very concerning. Bullets don’t have names on them, and there were multiple shots fired here, and through the grace of god, no one else got hit,” Pittsburgh Police Cmdr. Mike Pilyih said.
Apparently Lester and others at the practice are familiar with the alleged gunman, but a Southwestern PA Youth Athletic League spokesman said it was strictly a football matter.
Several members of the Bethany Baptist Church in Homewood were outraged by the fact that about 15 children saw their coach get shot.
“This is what happens when you have no respect for nobody and especially when you have no respect for yourself. You find yourself doing things that are just crazy and that’s where we’re at today,” Meridith Leon Robinson said.
“So it’s misguided morals, values and principles, and I know the coach was trying to instill other morals or values into these children and to have his life put in danger that kind of way is ridiculous,” Bob Ruffin said.
Police are still looking for the gunman who ran from the scene. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports 33-year-old Anthony L. Hines, of Sharpsburg, is facing charges in connection to the shooting, but he has not yet been arrested.
Meanwhile, an emergency meeting is scheduled Sunday for parents, coaches, players and others in the community to find ways to stop the violence.