A youth football coach in Florida was shot and killed last week, moments after his team’s nighttime practice.
David Williams had just brought Gatorade and cookies to his 30 players after the practice before he was shot, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Police responded to an incident at around 8:44 p.m. Thursday at Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., according to a Fort Lauderdale Police press release. When police arrived on the scene, they found Williams suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Williams died as he was transported to a local hospital.
Some media outlets ran headlines of the story indicating that Williams was shot in front of his team, but that remains unclear. According to a preliminary investigation, police said several males approached Williams before he was shot, and the suspects ran away from the area. The motive for the shooting is not known.
Jamaal Gaines, president of the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes youth football club, said about 600 adults and children were in the park at the time of the shooting.
“I just heard the shots, ran in that direction and found one of my coaches on the ground, fighting for his life,” Gaines told the newspaper.
Martin Maultsby, president of the Florida Youth Football League, told the Sun-Sentinel he did not know if kids were nearby at the time of the shooting.
“I’m pretty sure that there were some kids who were leaving the park, who maybe didn’t see the incident itself, but may have seen him injured after it was done,” Maultsby, who was not at the field on Thursday night, told the newspaper.
“Everything just happened so rapidly, and it’s not a norm or common, it’s an anomaly. This is not the place for this kind of violence. I’ve been in [youth football] for over 20 years, and this is the first one.”
The league cancelled the Hurricanes’ games Friday and Saturday.
“It’s shocking,” Gaines said. “You think you hear fireworks, but you see people grabbing their kids and running. You’re numb and praying, praying for a human being and hoping he can live through this. It’s a traumatizing situation.”