On Monday, Mayor Ed Gainey met with leaders of a youth sports league after a recent shooting near a youth football game.
League officials told Channel 11 that police promised to have a presence there, but no officers showed up.
Dozens of little kids with Lincoln Youth Sports were playing a football game when someone opened fire in the 1400 block of Oberlin Street around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
“I was on the field when this happened, my kids were at the park,” said Rickqera Stallworth. “Once it happened, my oldest son scrambled into the street and was hiding behind cars. As parents and the community and police, we need to come together.”
Head coach and vice president of Lincoln Youth Sports Aaron Strader says prior to the game, the league requested the presence of Pittsburgh officers and received an email confirming they’d be there, but on game day, no one showed up.
“The police need to be held accountable for not holding up their end of the bargain,” said Strader. “Right now, the commander has reached back out to us via email to some of our parents apologizing and saying what can we do and stuff like that, but the damage is already done. So hopefully tonight at this meeting we can develop a plan of action, not just for us, but for other football organizations.”
On Monday night, a community meeting was held at the team’s field house, where Pittsburgh police issued a public apology to the team and parents, saying they fell short.
Mayor Gainey, who was also in attendance, told the concerned community that city leaders will do better.
Gainey told Channel 11 police officers will be at the league’s future games.
“Two at the big games and when it’s not big, we will have one,” said Gainey.
Still, Strader says the damage has been done, saying some children on the team are left traumatized and a handful of players quit.
Now the league and team parents hope to move forward, and that the city keeps their word and protects their kids.
“I feel like since they dropped the ball on us this time, they will have to show us. Not just the games, but practice. We are up here Monday through Friday 6-8 (p.m.). A lot of people come early. Come around. Show us you’re here,” said Stallworth.
Strader says the league hired extra security guards for game days and that will continue.
In the meantime, Gainey says later this week, social workers will be available for parents and children to discuss any trauma they may be dealing with.
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