MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Monday was a terrifying night for youth football, as the Minnesota Jays were holding practice at Jordan Park in Minneapolis when instead of running drills, they were all running for cover after gunshots rang out.
Just the day before, about two blocks from the scene, a 17-year-old was left on the corner after being shot. He died a short time later.
The Jays were at practice when bullets flew overhead, sending players, coaches and parents to the ground, all hoping they didn’t get shot.
"A couple of times, I tried to scramble up to just run out. My thought was I could just lay on him, cause I’d rather get shot than him," said Carrie Heinrich, a parent.
About 42 players were running drills when they say at least 50 shots came from a passing car.
"The next thing I know I hear 'pop pop' and then I hear pinging noises like the sound of bullets hitting the metal," player Calvin Heinrich said.
Coach Marvin Thompson said he heard pinging off the metal fence and that it "sounded like it was hitting this pole. When we moved them over to the corner, a couple of the coaches, they really started panicking. That’s when I drove the van over cause that’s when they said the bullets started to hit the bricks on the wall."
"All the parents were kind of pulling each other behind cars and helping each other get behind cars, but still screaming at the kids to get down," Carrie Heinrich said. "I just remember locking eyes with him and screaming, 'Calvin, keep your head down, get your hands over your head, get your head down.'"
At one point, the coaches were lying on top of the kids, making themselves the barrier between the kids and the bullets.
"Once they sign up for this team, they’re all our kids. We’re all a family," Coach Thompson said.
"We were trying to keep them calm, but trying to remain calm ourselves, that was the hard part," added Quincy Hill, another coach.
The Minnesota Jays have been around for four years, giving any and all kids 13 and under an opportunity to play football. They've always practiced at Jordan Park, close to where the coaches and many of the players live. But now, the coaches say they will never practice there again.
"It's nothing we’ve ever prepared for," Coach Thompson said. "Nobody should ever have to prepare for anything like that, but we did the best we could and we got everybody out."
"That is the most sickening feeling as a parent, is not being able to protect your child," Carrie Heinrich said.
Luckily no one was injured in the shooting. There are no suspects in custody.