CAMPBELL (CBS SF) – When the 10 shots sounded for the first time, many of the thousands of fans and players did not hear them because of the roar of excitement from a touchdown that had just been scored during the Friday night’s CCS Division 1 Championship match between St Francis High Schools and Serra.
But moments later, there was fear, panic and chaos.
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“We just started running and taking cover and getting behind tents that we were under,” Serra High head coach Patrick Walsh said. “It was a chaotic scene. It was scary.”
Penelope Correa was a college student caught up in the blanket rush.
“All of a sudden you heard at least five gunshots and not everyone really knew what it was at first, then all the students dispersed and started running towards the back of the room. ‘school, that’s when the teams fell (on the pitch),’ Correa told KPIX. “I was running towards the back of the school not even knowing where I was going.”
Two men suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting which took place in the parking lot of Campbell’s Westmont High, the neutral site chosen to host the game.
Investigators have released no information about the suspects or whether the shooting was even gambling-related.
But nerves remained raw a few hours after the contest.
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“There’s no textbook for this,” Walsh said. “There are certain plays that we ended up running that night. But certainly, it wasn’t something anyone was unprepared for.
According to reports, more than 5,000 tickets have been sold for the game between the WCAL rivals. Serra had just gone up 16-12 with 2:18 remaining in the game when the sound of shots rang out.
In the stands, the supporters froze for a moment. Sierra players rushed off the field, St. Francis players dove to the ground for cover.
“All the fans started coming in,” said Matt Halmo, who attended the game to cheer on Saint Francis. “And everyone was afraid there would be a stampede. And that’s when everyone got really nervous. We didn’t know what was going on. Because all the reports said there was someone shooting in the stadium.
“We had people yelling ‘don’t rush, don’t run,'” Halmo added. “A lot of people stood up and controlled the crowd, which was great.”
CCS Commissioner Dave Grissom told the San Jose Mercury News that officials were also caught off guard.
“Nothing really prepares you (for something like this) until you’re actually doing it,” CCS commissioner Dave Grissom told the newspaper. “It took us a while to figure out if it was active shooter… (or) if it was fireworks, firecrackers.”
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CSC officials resumed play at 9:36 p.m. after police gave the go-ahead. Serra won by the margin of 16-12.