Community rallies behind Richfield students following homecoming shooting

The Richfield community is rallying behind students, as they prepare to return to classes following a shooting at the homecoming football game Friday.

A handful of parents came together Sunday to write encouraging messages in chalk on the sidewalks at Richfield High School. Maria Hink organized the impromptu event, saying she wanted students to know they have the community’s support.

"This was an unfortunate series of circumstances that lead to this event, but this is not us. This is not Richfield," said Hink.

Richfield Police say shots rang out around 8:45 p.m. Friday just northeast of the football field. According to a press release, a school staff member notified an on-site police officer about a group of individuals who were turned away at the gate and appeared to be waiting for the game to end. As the officer drove over to where they were located, he heard shots and people scattered.

Sunday, police announced they had arrested two teenagers in connection with the shooting.

"My heart breaks," said Richfield pastor Sheldon Beilke. "What is going on in their lives that this is what they’re having to do - that this is what they’re doing with their lives."

Beilke opened his church Bethel Rock Church in Richfield on Saturday, offering it as a place of healing to anyone who needed it. Beilke said the young people who came were shaken from the experience, and the parents too were concerned.

"It really is a traumatic experience for everyone," said Beilke whose son is a Freshman at Richfield. "People are hurting."

In a statement, principal Stacy Theien-Collins said, "I am heartbroken by the violence that broke out at the homecoming game, which has deeply impacted our entire community. What was supposed to be a weekend of celebration and school pride is now a time when we must come together in support and solidarity."

The statement went on to say, "We will have counselors and social workers on-site this week for any students who were directly or indirectly impacted by these events or who simply wish to process how they are feeling."