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Sorry long post.

A little preface. This afternoon while I was painting the stipes on the practice field I use for my U7 boys soccer team, out of the corner of my eye I see something shiny go across the field. I look up and it is a cd rolling. I look back towards an apartment complex (mostly section 8) across the road and see a group of late teens early 20's boys walking to their car. So I put my painting rig down, go over and pick up the disk, and fling it back in the direction it came from. At that time I notice another disk in the field as well, so I pick it up as well and give it a toss in that direction. At this time the youths are getting in their car and driving off. I continue to stripe the field. As I am finishing up the striping about 15 minutes later I notice that folks are very active at the complex. When I get home to eat dinner before practice I tell my wife that the folks at the apartments are going to be restless tonight.

An hour and a half later I show up for practice. Talk to the U8 girls coach and ask him if he is going to scrimmage tonight and tell him if he is to go ahead and switch over to the marked off section of the field when they get ready and I will drill my boys on the unmarked section. We start our practice at 6:00 p.m. on the far side of the field. About 15 to 20 minutes into the practice I notice that the folks at the apartments are gathering in the parking lot. Lots of young males mostly, most with shirts off, and lots of loud talking, yelling ect. From the parking lot of the church the parents could not see what I could see because the loud folks from the apartment were around a building. The parents apparently hear the ruckus, and some start to head towards us to see what is going on. I am paying attention to the group but also focusing on the players. Once the parents get to where we are they start to watch the folks across the street a bit closer. My wife and one of the dads see one guy with a knife and decide now would be a good time to call 911. One of the players moms is a 911 dispatcher, her husband is a LEO, she is already on the phone with her co workers. I don't have my pistol on me, and look at my wife ask if she still has hers, yep, she does. +1 for mom this time.

I am not too concerned about the folks across the street at this time since they are 100+ yds away and not interested in us. Well a minute or so later, LEO's arrive and exit their vehicles with pistols and one has his AR out. Time to evacuate the field, I turn to the parents and the kids and tell them to head back towards the cars. The LEO's rush one car with an individual in it and make him exit the vehicle. This isn't the guy they are looking for. Apparently the guy in the car knows who the instigator was so next the cops and the guy from the car are headed towards a different part of the complex. I am still in the field gathering up my gear, and look back at the parking lot. The kids are all sitting down behing my Jeep, as it is the farthest vehicle from the action, and the parents are over there with them. I gather up all my stuff left on the field and head back towards the parking lot. About this time the LEO's have in custody the guy in the red shirt with the knife. Good deal, although there is still lots of screaming and hollering mostly from women across the street.

I set up the goals on half of the field away from all the action, and then go over to where all kids and parents are. Some of the parents say that they are going to head home. My wife asks if we are going to cancel practice and I say loudly enough for the parents to hear, that I will stay will the boys of the parents who wish to scrimage. If there are any parents who want to go home I understand. Well the boys all want to stay, so we did get a good half hour of scrimage in and none of the parents made them skip the rest of the practice. Hopefully none of the parents will think we are practicing in a neighborhood too dangerous for their kids and will keep bringing them to practice.

So, let me have it. Should I have gotten the kids off the field earlier, should I have sent them all home instead of continuing practice? Yea, I know my pistol in the console of my Jeep didn't do me any good, but the 6 yr olds don't pose any threat and the folks 100+ yds away don't constitute a threat either.

At no time did I feel anyone was in real danger, I just didn't want the kids to be out in the open if gunfire broke out. BTW, the U8 girls coach sent the players home but stayed around himself to see how things played out.
 

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I'm not too clear on what happened, some shouting and a guy with a knife a couple of hundred yards away in a parking lot ? Was there an actual fight, stabbing...etc ? From the way it reads, you and your team weren't in any danger, no need to cancel practice. I wouldn't have from what you explained here. You did fine. Good job by your wife. Where was your gun ?
 

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12rounds,

My gun was in the console of my Jeep in the parking lot. It was more than a couple of guys, at its largest number there were probably about 30 to 40 folks all gathered in that side parking lot. There wasn't any knock down rolling across the parking lot fightting. My wife and some of the other folks said they saw a guy with the knife, and it looked like folks were throwing a knife or knives. I was working on practice while keeping an eye on the crowd so I didn't see a knife or knife like object being thrown.

The only threat I saw was when LEO's arrived with guns drawn, there was a possibility of bullets being fired and one coming our way if all hell broke loose. It looked like 3 to 4 LEO's with guns drawn, one with an AR. All moving rather quickly.
 

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You know, it wasn't too long ago I was helping coach my son's baseball team, and I used to ponder frequently what I would do if some punks came up to the school and started fighting. It wasn't legal for me to carry on school grounds, so if a person/persons came onto the grounds with weapons, we were all fenced in sheep out in a wide-open field with the only cover and means of escape being hundreds of feet away.

In your case, I may have gathered the kids a little sooner, but that's a tough call for me to make since you were there and I wasn't. As for continuing practice, I would have been concerned about people returning to the area and taking care of unfinished business after the police left, this time maybe with firearms instead of knives. Do you feel that for the most part, this is a safe place to practice? Is there an area of safety/cover you can take the kids if the SHTF again in the future?

I'm not aware of the layout of the area or if it is a large fenced-in field like a lot of schools/rec areas are around me. I would also be concerned about any future "conflicts" coming my way. A 100-yard distance may seem safe enough but realistically may only leave you a few seconds to get the kids gathered and out of danger if the some of those involved in the fight decide to run for their lives in your direction while being chased by others with weapons.

As for leaving your weapon in your vehicle, I don't know how physically active you are in coaching or how practical/legal it is for you to carry while fulfilling those duties, so I'll assume you have that covered.

Your SA was perfect and I think you saw the warning signs long before the average person would. I'm assuming you and your wife are going over an emergency plan for this type of scenario and will share it with other coaches. Isn't it sad that you would even have to consider that? :frown: Even the kids aren't off limits anymore. :mad:

All in all I think you and your wife did an excellent job and the kids are lucky to have someone with your level headedness, calm demeanor, and SA to coach as well as protect them. It isn't easy busting your butt all day at work and then taking the time out to get there early and get the field ready for the kids. Good coaches are often the under-appreciated heroes that our kids never realize until they become adults. Kudos for being there for the kids!! :hand10:
 

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Unless you are the one making the "shall we exit?" call, it's hard to judge without being there. If shots were going to ring out, it's definitely time to leave. If any of the individuals started across the field, it's time to leave.
It seems as though your call to 911 covered things.:yup:
Other than that, it was your call as the coach.:22a::ziplip:
 

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You did right by moving the kids off the field while the "complex" stuff was going on with the police. A stray shot ya'lls direction would not be a good thing.

I understand about the parents and how they potentially could be worried about the safety in that practice area. Keep a close eye on the complex and if/when you see a crowd gathering get your dispatcher friend to give her buddies a call and have the leo do a drive-thru a few times.

OTOH I could be your assistant coach, and I have my own AR :image035:
 

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From the way you described it I would have done the same thing in the manner/timing that you did it. It's a judgment call and all depends on the situation. I think it was a smart move to gather and move the kids when the cops got there and had guns drawn.
 

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Sounds like you did the right thing to me.
Stray rounds from anybody's weapon could be a dangerous thing.
 

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kccad,

There is no fence between the field which we play on, and the road between the apartment complex and the church. It is legal for me to carry while at practice, I just have choose not to at practice due to running and such or during games, my personal choice. Usually these are the only 2+ hours a week that I don't carry.

BTW, the LEO's were on scene well after we finished practice and left for home. In fact I turned the scanner on when I got home and it sounded like they were there for about an hour after we left, so if things had started back up, LEO's were there to take care of it.
 

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sounds like you did a good job watching your surroundings
good job getting the kids off the field while the LEOs were taking care of business
as for cancelling pratice....thats a judgment call, kind of hard to make a for sure decision without being there, its a 50/50....will there be more hostilities once LEOs leave?, are other actors in the incident still there?, did anyone see your group calling 911 and want to have words with you?

me personally....I would have my gun on me even at the soccer practice, it would be really bad for something to hit the fan and have to get to the jeep to retrieve, what if someone was to arrive at the field from the parking lot ? or some other scenario

my next thought.....is this apartment complex a known haven for less than desirables? if you have knowledge that this place is known for trouble then carry always, have more than one other adult (the more the merrier) at practice, is there another place to practice that is feasible?

too bad I'm not there to help you with practice by taking up an overwatch position on top of the church :camper:
:rofl:
 

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64zebra,

The apartment complex is mostly section 8, along with that comes some less than desireable people. There are some good folks that live there as well. In fact one lady who parks her car on our church's parking lot instead of at the apartment complex, left the complex and came over to our parking lot during this incident. She told my wife that she was sorry, but she had to get out of there. I don't think anyone blamed her. Parents of the other kids were at practice as well, along with parents from the girls team. Although all of them high tailed it when the cops showed up.

The LEO's were still on scene well after we finished practice. I left it up to the other parents as to whether their kids would stay for the rest of practice. I am glad the kids wanted to and the parents let them.

When I am there working on the field, mowing/striping ect, which adds up to 3 to 4 hours a week, I always carry, I just haven't at practice times. That may change.

I have attended this church since I was a kid. I guess I could find another place to practice, but in the 3 years I have been coaching this is the first time anything like this has happened. In my mind, discontinuing activities at the church or whereever would be a bad thing. When folks let other influence their behavior at places they have every right to be, that is giving up in my book.
 

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So, let me have it. Should I have gotten the kids off the field earlier, should I have sent them all home instead of continuing practice? Yea, I know my pistol in the console of my Jeep didn't do me any good, but the 6 yr olds don't pose any threat and the folks 100+ yds away don't constitute a threat either.
Here is the problem. Nobody thought the 6 year olds in that amish school house inlancaster were a threat, and they werent, but the guy who walked in with 2 rifles and 500 rounds was a threat.

You maintain a certain level of respsonsibility while these children are under your supervision. What happens if some ******* were to come into the field and start chopping the kids down because he's pumped up on coke and just killed someone in the complex, now he wants more kills.

I think you handled the situation just fine, in the future carry your gun.
You might not have time to evacuate the field before the problem comes to you. Next time the problem might already by there.

In a big open soccer field, everyone is an easy target, if the shooter even has the most novice level of aim.
 

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Sounds like you handled it perfectly. Your SA was up, you got folks out of harm's way, and nobody got hurt. Win all around.
 

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When the guns showed up, you did the right thing getting everybody behind the vehicles.

What a shame that this kind of crap goes on.
 

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+1 for your wife. Food for thought put your gun in a backpack and keep that on the field. At least it will be feet away instead of yards away.
 

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kccad,

There is no fence between the field which we play on, and the road between the apartment complex and the church. It is legal for me to carry while at practice, I just have choose not to at practice due to running and such or during games, my personal choice. Usually these are the only 2+ hours a week that I don't carry.

BTW, the LEO's were on scene well after we finished practice and left for home. In fact I turned the scanner on when I got home and it sounded like they were there for about an hour after we left, so if things had started back up, LEO's were there to take care of it.
I can understand how difficult it is to carry discretely while being that physically active, escpecially during hot weather. I don't know if a fanny pack would raise eyebrows or not. Would you be able to park your Jeep on the side of the field close to where you are and lock the gun in there? That way it's either on you at all times (fanny pack) or only accessible by you (Jeep) if needed.
 

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Wolf,

I think you did just fine. Well, unless you want to lug around your crystal ball! :wink:
 

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64zebra,

The apartment complex is mostly section 8, along with that comes some less than desireable people. There are some good folks that live there as well. In fact one lady who parks her car on our church's parking lot instead of at the apartment complex, left the complex and came over to our parking lot during this incident. She told my wife that she was sorry, but she had to get out of there. I don't think anyone blamed her. Parents of the other kids were at practice as well, along with parents from the girls team. Although all of them high tailed it when the cops showed up.

The LEO's were still on scene well after we finished practice. I left it up to the other parents as to whether their kids would stay for the rest of practice. I am glad the kids wanted to and the parents let them.

When I am there working on the field, mowing/striping ect, which adds up to 3 to 4 hours a week, I always carry, I just haven't at practice times. That may change.

I have attended this church since I was a kid. I guess I could find another place to practice, but in the 3 years I have been coaching this is the first time anything like this has happened. In my mind, discontinuing activities at the church or whereever would be a bad thing. When folks let other influence their behavior at places they have every right to be, that is giving up in my book.
I agree on the giving up part
and I understand how its unfortunate a few dirtbags will ruin an apartment complex, we have several hear that we really don't like getting calls to, and some have a mixture just like you speak of....dirtbags plus section 8s makes for an interesting living environment

carry on you, not the backpack, find something, some way of carrying on you, on that field you are fish in a barrel for a shooter or machete wielding meth/crack head
 
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