Little League teams in North Carolina have pulled out of their state championship tournament after gunshots were heard nearby at a game on Sunday.
The Wilmington Little League and South Durham Little League announced the withdrawal from the tournament on Monday for Wilmington’s 8U team and South Durham’s 8U and 9U teams.
The decision comes after the gunshots were heard at the tournament at the Gillette Athletic Complex in Wilson, North Carolina, over 30 miles east of Raleigh. It happened when South Durham’s 8U Orange All Star team and Wilmington’s 8U Machine Pitch team were playing games on Sunday morning.
Video of the incident, obtained by WITN, shows players dropping to the ground and running off the field when the shot were heard.
Both leagues said in statements on Facebook no players, coaches or spectators were injured in the incident.
“We know shots were fired in the direction of the baseball fields. We know at least one bullet landed on one of the baseball fields, while players were on the field. We know the back window of a car parked by one of the fields was struck by a bullet. We know that no one has been apprehended for this shooting,” South Durham Little League said in their statement.
The Wilson Police Department said in a news release it hasno evidence it was an “active shooter event.” They added no one at the game was targeted in the shooting and three shots were fired. Two vehicles identified by police as potentially involved in the incident were interviewed by authorities and were determined to be attendees leaving the game.
The incident is under police investigation.
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Both leagues said it was best for the teams to withdraw from the tournament. South Durham said four of six other leagues in the 9U tournament and five of the 11 leagues in the 8U tournament have also withdrawn.
“This was not a decision made lightly, but it also was not a difficult decision for us to make. The events were too traumatic for us to even consider having the teams return to Wilson to play,” the league added.
Little League International said in a statement to USA TODAY it is aware of the incident and have reached out to Wilson officials to provide support. The tournament is not associated with the Little League International Tournament, which is held every August in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“We are relieved that no one was injured, and it is extremely unfortunate and horrifying that the players, families, and volunteers were exposed to this ordeal,” the statement read.
The incident in North Carolina comes months after a similar one occurred in South Carolina in April. Officers said they heard dozens of shots fired in a parking lot in North Charleston, where there are three youth baseball fields. No injuries were reported from the incident, and games the following day were canceled.
South Durham Little League said they are looking for resources to help players, coaches and families process the incident.
“Tragic events such as these are happening far too often in our country. We too often think it won’t happen to us. Today, it happened for 7 and 8 year old Little League players, for children and coaches we all know. It was a terrifying situation for all involved. Video shows coaches bravely covering players with their bodies and crawling off baseball fields. No child or parent should ever experience anything like this,” the league said. “Our hearts are heavy tonight.”
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