A 17-year-old high school student is in custody Saturday morning after he allegedly opened fire into a crowded football stadium in Mobile, Alabama Friday night, injuring nine people.
Deangelo Parnell was arrested early Saturday and charged with nine counts of attempted murder. Parnell is being charged as an adult, according to Charlette Solis, a police spokesperson.
As of 1 p.m. Saturday, six of the nine people hospitalized had been treated and released with the others still dealing with what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries. The victims’ conditions have not been released, but they were considered critical earlier in the day.
“This was a cowardly act by an individual that didn’t know how to deal with a conflict or disagreement that he was having with someone else other than recklessly discharging a firearm into a crowded venue,” said Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste. “That’s unacceptable.”
The shooting came at the end of the game between Williamson High School and LeFlore High School in the east side concourse of Ladd-Peebles Stadium, according to Battiste, and appeared to have stemmed from a fight before the game. Parnell did not appear to have an intended target, Battiste said.
Zane Horn lives about 100 yards east of the stadium in the 1600 block of Illinois Street, inside a house he’s lived in since 1987. Horn said he was on his sofa around 8:30 p.m. when he heard what sounded like 10-14 shots fired nearby.
“With this stadium, it’s like an echo, so I thought it was on the side of the house,” Horn said. “So I came out with my (gun) and I thought, ‘What’s going on?’ And I saw everybody running through that gate with that little yellow thing, and it was hard for everyone to get through that little gate.”
As Horn described the scene, he pointed to a narrow fence opening just across the street from his house, that let visitors in and out of Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Roughly 80-100 yards of field and parking lot space separates that gate from the concourse where the shooting allegedly occurred.
“See, they put that there to keep the motorcycles from getting into the Senior Bowl, but last night it just made it so it was harder for people to get out,” Horn said.
In his 32 years of residency, Horn said he’d never seen anything close to a crime of Friday night’s magnitude occur in his neighborhood.
“My neighbors have been here 30-something years, this neighbor behind me, almost 40 years, so, we know each other, we look out for each other,” Horn said. “This is very rare. Break-ins and stuff like that, we don’t have that around here.”
The victims range in age from 15 to 18 years old. An additional person in the crowd suffered a seizure because of the event and a second person injured their hand trying to escape the chaos.
Police were able to use surveillance video from the game, as well as multiple cell phone videos from the crowd, to identify Parnell. While he appears to be the only shooter, additional people are being questioned and more charges are not out of the question. Among those being questioned are several adults.
A fight was about to occur and he just indiscriminately pulled out a weapon, Battiste said.
“What I would like for our community to really understand is that we all have to do a better job of making sure we prevent these types of incidents from occurring,” Battiste said. “We know we have knowledge that some of this occurred that night, that there were adults that were privy to information about this type of event potentially occurring in our community, and we need those adults that have that type of information to step forward.”
Battiste, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, councilman Levon Manzie and Superintendent of Mobile County Public Schools Chresal Threadgill held a joint press conference Saturday afternoon in which they promised to adopt “stricter protocols” for guests at high school football games, protocols they expect to begin instilling as soon as next Friday.
“What we have decided to do is that we’re going to do a better job collaborating,” Stimpson said. “There are certain things that the police department knows about individuals and certain things the school system knows about individuals and we have just got to make sure that we are sharing information because there are troublemakers that exist in our community.”
Stimpson mentioned that Mobile high school football security protocols going forward will be akin to the generally stricter college football game protocols. He pointed out the prohibition of umbrellas, bottles, cups, and a mandate that all bags must be clear, as starting points that will be immediately discussed.
He also said metal detectors, which Ladd-Peebles currently does not have, are “on the table” as potential solutions across all nine venues.