Game security tightened after shooting

Police are increasing security measures ahead of future football matchups at North Little Rock High School after a shooting near the school after last week's game left a teenager injured.

Seventeen officers will be deployed to Friday night's game in North Little Rock against Little Rock's Parkview High School, Sgt. Brian Dedrick said. That is more than usual, but he did not say exactly how many officers are generally present at games.

Enhanced lighting in a parking lot nearby is also being considered, and a police observation tower will be in place during games. The tower, staffed by up to two officers, will allow for a bird's-eye view of the comings and goings of people in the area, Dedrick said.

On Wednesday, the North Little Rock School District said in an email announcement to the district community that attendees of football games will be scanned as they enter the stadium. Their bags and purses will also be scanned.

Several fights and one instance of gunfire have been reported recently at the high school, prompting the increased security efforts, police said.

"A lot of people were worried and scared, and probably rightfully so. We just want to make it to where we have a big presence," Dedrick said.

Between 25 and 30 shots were fired during a brawl around 9:30 p.m. Friday in the southwest parking lot of North Little Rock High School, according to a police report.

There, a 14-year-old boy was found hit by a bullet that had ricocheted. He was taken to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock with injuries described as not life-threatening.

The shooting prompted police to lock down the stadium while officers responded. That lockdown was later lifted.

Police said several minors were kicked out of the stadium for fighting before the gunfire. After the game ended, the fighting reportedly continued, with about 40 teenagers yelling, pushing one another and throwing punches near the intersection of Main and 22nd streets.

A dozen shell casings from weapons of various calibers were found in the 2200 block of Willow Street and in the parking lot of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in North Little Rock, according to the report.

Police said an anonymous caller reported that a white 2002 Chevrolet Impala with a "dark tint" was involved in the gunfire.

No arrests had been made in the shooting as of Wednesday morning. An investigation is ongoing.

In a post to social media Monday, North Little Rock High School officials outlined stadium procedures as part of the district's efforts to thwart violence.

Among the guidelines were a mandate that patrons not loiter behind bleachers, in concession areas or in restrooms. The rules also stipulate that spectators vacate the stadium and parking areas within 10 minutes after the end of each game.

"School personnel reserve the right to ask any violators to vacate the stadium," the procedures conclude.

A call to the district's safety coordinator was not returned by Wednesday morning.

Information for this article was contributed by Scott Carroll of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Metro on 09/14/2017

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