'It's something I will never ever forget': Parents, coaches react after gunshots rang out near a little league tournament in Wilson

11 July 2022

— Gunfire forced the cancellation of a day of baseball on Sunday in Wilson.

Video showed players quickly getting on the ground at Gillette Athletic Complex.

Someone nearby was shooting.

The Wilson City Little League was holding a tournament at J. Burt Gillette Athletic Complex on Corbett Avenue when shots rang out and the crowd scattered, witnesses told WRAL News.

It was the bottom of the 4th inning, and the Bull City Little League was about to take the mound when it happened.

Bullet from car

“I heard whizzes. I heard zoom zoom zoom,” said Coach Chris Breslin, one of the coaches on the field. “I heard three of them.”

Players, coaches and those in the stands started running, ducking for cover or just falling to the ground.

“You see stories on the news all the time, and you’ve seen pictures where everybody drops everything and just runs,” said parent Lindsey Stephenson. “To see it firsthand today, it’s something I will never ever forget or get over.

“Today has changed the rest of my life.”

When the shots stopped no one was injured, but a shell casing was found on the ground and the back window of a van in the parking lot was shot out.

Vehicle damaged by gunfire during Wilson little league game

Police arrived just after 10:30 a.m. Sunday, but they did not find a shooter or anyone who had been injured.

Police said this was not an active shooter situation, but is being investigated as shots fired in the city limits.

“We feel it was very intentional because one of the bullets ricocheted off the ground or went to the ground,” Stephenson said. “There was an evidence marker. There was a little boy standing just feet away from that.”

Evidence marker

Stephenson was in the stands and her husband Coach Brad Stephenson was on home plate.

There is no word on whether the baseball tournament will be rescheduled.

And now, coaches are trying to find a way to encourage a group of frightened little leaguers.

“We don’t want this to be the last thing [the kids are] thinking about this summer or about baseball or teams or any of those things,” Breslin said. “I think the coaches, administrators and commissioners are trying to get creative and trying to do right by the kids.”

The Wilson Police Department asked that anyone with information regarding this case contact the Wilson Police Department at 252-399-2323 or Crime Stoppers at 252-243-2255.

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