Two people are dead, and four others have been injured, after a shooting at Shawnee Park in Louisville, site of the annual Juice Bowl, according to Louisville police.
Louisville Metro Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell said when officers arrived, they found two black males with gunshot wounds, according to TEGNA partner WHAS. Both men were pronounced dead.
“This is very tragic what’s happened here. I’m saddened. We’ve had over 100 homicides in our city, something that hasn’t happened in a long time,” Mitchell told WHAS. “And we consider ourselves one of the safest cities in America but when you have a tragedy like this it certainly puts a damper on that.”
Hundreds were said to have gathered for the Juice Bowl football game at the park, including Mayor Greg Fischer, who was approximately 200 yards away at the time of the incident. He did have security detail and staff present.
Fischer took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to condemn the shooting and implore the public to help police find the shooters. He said his thoughts and prayers were with the families of all those impacted by today’s violence.
“To have people with guns so disrespect life, Shawnee Park, and neighborhood tradition is sad and has no place in our city,” Fischer said.
The Juice Bowl is a flag football event that has taken place for more than 50 years. The event was canceled after the shooting as coaches attempted to get players to safety.
Children had finished playing football and two women’s teams were in the middle of a flag football game when several shots were fired. One player, who asked not to be named, said she never heard shots but saw a bevy of patrol cars rush in with blue lights flashing. The men’s football games were then canceled.
Charlotte Waddell, a cousin of Muhammad Ali, said she had just finished talking to the mayor when she heard several gunshots.
“This is the worst Thanksgiving ever, I’ll never be back,” Waddell, who has attended the event for years, said. “I’m pretty shaken up.”
Metro Police have also confirmed that a separate — but possibly related — scene on West Broadway, in front of the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse, is a crime scene and is blocked off from traffic. At this time, police believe one victim was in a black vehicle that was stopped in the middle of the road. One other survivor was said to have gone to hospital via car and two via ambulance. Traffic is stopped in front of the courthouse at this time.
Contributing: USA TODAY High School Sports