Gunshots fired during brawl at adult softball game in Winter Haven, police say

Polk County

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — Police say somebody fired shots into a crowd, hitting two vehicles after a rivalry came to blows at an adult softball game in Winter Haven Tuesday night.

The Winter Haven Police Department said the incident occurred at about 9:35 p.m. during a game at the Polk State College DiamondPlex, 999 Avenue H Northeast in Winter Haven.

“There’s always kids around here and the baseball team over here. So that’s uncalled for. That’s just too much,” said Ivette Chiari, who lives nearby.

Chiari has heard commotion growing louder and more rowdy over the last several weeks.

“Now it makes me think twice, you know, because now when I see them it’s like, ‘Ok, you don’t know what’s going to happen,'” she said.

According to police, the event took a violent turn when players from two opposing teams got into an altercation, and one was “sucker-punched.” Police said the only injuries reported were minor abrasions.

Witnesses told 8 On Your Side the feud between the two Polk County teams started two weeks ago when one team was mad about losing to the other team.

“That’s a petty thing. It’s real petty. You know, we win or we lose some,” said Archie Young, who lives nearby and heard gunshots.

Police said the person who punched the player got into a vehicle, and shots were fired from the car as it left the parking lot. Two cars were hit by bullets, but no one was shot, police said.

Witnesses said the vehicles were surrounded by dozens of people, including children.

“It’s a dangerous situation. It’s unfortunate that now we’ve escalated to people just having a scuffle and working it out that way to ‘I have to show my power and display a gun and fire it’,” said Jamie Brown, public information officer at Winter Haven Police Department.

The shooter was not identified, and no arrests have been made at this time.

Those with information are being asked to call detectives at 863-291-5752 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477).


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