Here’s an open line plus a statement from Little Rock police and the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department about the early ending of last night’s Benton-Bryant Salt Bowl football game at War Memorial Stadium after fear of a shooting sent the crowd of 38,000 heading for the exits during the third quarter.
Note the statement says fans were wanded “as needed” before entering the stadium, as opposed to saying all were scanned by metal detectors. I’m guessing this policy will be up for review in the future.
This is a joint release from the Little Rock Police Department and Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
The annual Salt Bowl, Benton vs Bryant, high school football game was held at War Memorial Stadium last night. Primary security for the event was the Arkansas State Park Rangers. Little Rock Police Department Officers work in an off duty capacity for security inside the stadium and Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office deputies work outside security and traffic control. There was also stadium security present at the game as well as school resource officers from both Benton and Bryant police departments. Stadium security officers did check bags and individuals were wanded as needed prior to entering the stadium.
There was an estimated crowd of 38,000 people for this year’s game. During the latter part of the third quarter there was an altercation that occurred inside the concourse section of the stadium between unknown subjects. At this time it is not known if it was just verbal or also became physical. We have received information that a stun gun was deployed and “dry fired” by a person attending the game. At that point people attending the game believed that they heard gunshots and began passing that information on verbally and through social media and texts. There was a second “dry fire” of the stun gun at which point people began to flee certain sections of the west (Bryant) side of the stadium. There were also reports of people yelling “gun” which continued to upset the situation.
As other attendees began to see people flee and hear “reports” of gunfire they also began trying to flee the stadium. There were several metal barricades outside the stadium that were knocked over during this time. When those hit the ground they made a loud noise that could have also been mistaken as gunfire.
There were injuries reported. One individual received a lower leg injury from jumping over a wall and another person fell down and was stepped on. The other injuries were heat related.
There were medical officials on the scene and others who responded and treated the injured. Law enforcement officials successfully reunited all families that were separated during the initial incident.
The group of individuals involved in the altercation were able to leave without being identified. It is not known at this time if they were students or just individuals attending the game.
Little Rock Police Department officers arrested a juvenile female after the fact for disorderly conduct. The arrest was not related to the initial incident and she was given a citation and released to a parent. There were no other arrests made.
The Little Rock Police Department will continue to work with the Arkansas Parks Rangers to identify the individuals who were involved in the initial altercation
Facebook accounts of the game include one video purported to be the concourse scuffle that puts events in motion. If true, two teens are seen scuffling in a manner typical of many high school fights.
In theory, weapons are prohibited in War Memorial Stadium, not to mention umbrellas and selfie sticks. Bags may be searched on entry.