When a shooting broke out near Armijo High School in Fairfield, Calif. during the school’s junior varsity football game, everything came to a halt. The game was stopped. The school was placed on lockdown. All focus shifted to safety.
When the dust settled, a 16-year-old, Ahmar Willis, had been killed just a block away from campus and both the JV and varsity football games had been postponed.
Just four days later the two teams reconvened to pick up where they left off, all with the backdrop of added security but also a sense of resilience among the fans who showed up for the game.
“I think it hurts every parent that’s here, we all have kids, and to think that could have been our kid,” Fairfield parent Eric Nelson told Sacramento CBS affiliate KOVR.
Added student Monifa Mills to the news network: “It’s been rough, everyone’s been shaken up. … I feel a little bit more safe now that they’re caught.”
For the special Tuesday edition of Friday night lights, at least two Fairfield police officers circulated throughout the crowd, throughout the game, making their presence visibly felt and obvious. Meanwhile, a number of students — some of whom were ushered into the school gym in the aftermath of the Friday night shooting alongside the gunman — stepped forward to make sure their own message was heard loud and clear.
“We’re an army of students, saying put down the guns, no more shootings,” Sonia Hernandez, a friend of the slain teenager, told KOVR.