TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Police are investigating after a person fired a gunshot during a fight at a Palmetto High School spring football game on Wednesday.
Police said what appeared to be a group of students got into a fight near the sidelines at the end of the game. When school staff and police tried to break up the fight, they heard a gunshot.
The group scattered to different areas for safety, and police found a gun on the ground.
No injuries were reported.
Police said they identified a “person of interest” in the case, but their name was not released.
Luke Bustle with TigerVision tells 8 On Your Side he was in the press box working as a spotter as the incident unfolded around him.
“When that gunshot occurred, we didn’t, in the press box, have any idea on where it had come from, but people were absolutely running for their lives,” Bustle said. “We didn’t know it at the time up there, but we could see people tripping over each other, trying to get out, we’ve got players sprinting down the field running faster than they’ve ever run in their lives.”
He went on to say authorities responded to the incident swiftly.
“We’ve got to give credit to the men and women who serve in this community with the Palmetto Police Department and a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. They did a fantastic job to de-escalate this and keep it to what it was, which was an isolated incident between a couple kids that were knuckleheads,” said Luke Bustle. “This doesn’t happen in Palmetto. We are safe community and we are safe because of the response like we had last night,” he continued.
Manatee County School District officials sent 8 On Your Side the following statement:
“The Palmetto Police Department are actively investigating the incident at last night’s game. We are cooperating with that investigation and our district security personnel are also looking into this matter. We believe it was an isolated incident unrelated to the game and we are extremely thankful no one was injured. Out of an abundance of caution, we have an additional security presence at and around Palmetto High School today. In addition, out of an abundance of caution, we will be stepping up security measures for our three remaining home spring football games: Bayshore hosting Bradenton Christian tonight, Lakewood Ranch hosting Seminole Osceola tonight, and Braden River hosting Pinellas Park Friday night.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Palmetto Police Department at 941-723-4587 or Manatee County Crime Stoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477).