A night of celebration of homecoming quickly transitioned to dangerous chaos for a few minutes Friday night after a football game, but the quick thinking of a civilian kept a bad situation into potentially becoming much worse.
Two victims — Demetrius Harper and Cameshia Murphy — were struck by bullets, according to a report from the Brownsville Police Department.
Harper was hit twice in the back and flown to The Med in Memphis, and Murphy was hit in the foot and transported by ambulance to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. Both were treated and released.
The shooter, a 16-year-old juvenile, was quickly apprehended — all because he ran past the wrong person.
Stopping the shooter
Patrick Shields is a 1996 graduate of Haywood High School who has served in the Army for 22 years, including three deployments. He currently serves in the National Guard in Brownsville.
He enjoyed watching his son, Taylor, and the rest of the Tomcat football team win their homecoming game over neighboring rival Crockett County on Friday night.
But he didn’t expect his military training to become necessary after the game.
“My brother and I were cleaning up, and we heard a bunch of kids hollering and yelling across the street at Walgreen’s, but we didn’t know what was going on,” Shields said. “Then we heard sounds like fireworks … like pow pow pow.
“And I looked over there and saw the flame coming out of a pistol, and a bunch of the kids were running toward us.”
Shields said he saw the shooter and the gun in his hand.
“It looked like he was aiming for one person, but I don’t know who,” Shields said. “They were all running toward us, but he wasn’t shooting in our direction.”
Shields said the few seconds before the shooter got to him gave him an instant to decide what he would do when he got within arm’s length of the shooter.
“I grabbed him by the arm that was holding the gun and pulled him toward me and threw him up against the fence,” Shields said. “Then I grabbed him by the back of the shirt and got him on the ground.”
A police officer was already headed in that direction, and arrived quickly. Shields’ brother, Gregory, let the officer know the shooter was subdued. Brownsville Police Assistant Chief Kelvin Evans was on the scene shortly after, as well, and handcuffed the suspect while calming the scene.
The shooter has been charged with criminal attempt to commit first degree murder, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. He is being held in a juvenile detention center.
A statement from Brownsville Police Chief Barry Diebold commended Shields for his work.
“Mr. Shields’ quick thinking saved many lives,” Diebold said in his statement.