A ten-year-old boy critically wounded in a shootout that broke out during a high school football game in New Jersey on Friday has died.
Authorities confirmed Wednesday the young victim, identified by relatives as Micah Tennant, succumbed to his injuries.
According to earlier reports, a stray bullet fired in the stands of a Friday night playoff game between the Camden Panthers and the Pleasantville Greyhounds struck Micah in the neck.
He was rushed to Cooper Medical Center, where he had remained in critical condition. Two other victims, described as a 15-year-old boy and a 27-year-old man, believed to be the intended target, were also wounded in the shooting, which has led to six arrests.
Alvin Wyatt, 31, of Atlantic City, had been charged with three counts of attempted murder and two weapons counts. He is alleged to have shot Abdullah and the two children.
In the wake of Micah’s death he is now facing a murder charge.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said: ‘Words at this time seem so insufficient to portray the anger and outrage that our community feels regarding his loss.
‘However, his spirit will live on in so many people that he inspired. I have directed the charges against Alvin Wyatt be immediately upgraded to murder. The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office will seek to prosecute this matter to the fullest extent of the law.’
Atlantic City Superintendent Barry Caldwell paid tribute to the youngster, saying: ‘Micah was a vibrant, beautiful child with a kind and pure spirit.’
Micah’s mother, Angela Tennant, had earlier posted an emotional status update early Monday morning.
She thanked God for ‘everything you have done for Dew thus far and everything you will continue to do for him throughout this journey and beyond this journey.’
A day earlier, Tennant wrote on her Facebook PAGE: ‘We ain’t using the word hope when it come to Dew ya’ll! We are believers.’
The mother also shared a video from 2017 showing her young son flexing his muscles and wrote in the caption: ‘Just like in this video he gone [sic] show ya’ll just how strong he is He gone [sic] be back and better than ever! Lil Flex Baby.’
She had not posted in wake of the devastating news Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, a relative has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help Micah’s family. As of Wednesday, more than $24,000 has been raised.
Ibn Abdullah, 27, who was the alleged target of Friday’s shooting, was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun because the firearm was found on him when emergency responders went to his aid, authorities said.
He is in stable condition after undergoing surgery.
A 15-year-old boy who has not been named was treated for a graze wound and released.
Authorities said it did not appear that any of the men charged had any connection to the game.
‘Our community will not be held hostage by a few idiots intent on jeopardizing our safety and the safety of our children,’ Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said in a news release.
Tyner said the shooting was ‘petty vengeance against one another’.
Suspect Wyatt was captured on the football field moments after the shooting by a Pleasantville officer who was part of the game’s security detail.
He was detained at the west end of the end zone, approximately 75 yards from where the shooting took place, as he tried to flee the scene.
Three other men face weapons charges, and a fourth faces weapons and eluding charges.
Michael Mack, 27, Tyrell Dorn, 28, Shahid Dixon, 27, all of Atlantic City and Vance Golden, 26, of Pleasantville have been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and certain persons not to possess a weapon.
When the shots rang out, panicked spectators and some of the players knocked down a fence in their haste to escape the field.
Witnesses said at least half a dozen shots were fired from the bleachers.
Some children were separated from their parents, and other parents held children tight to keep them from being trampled by those fleeing, according to Jonathan Diego, who was at the game in Pleasantville, right outside Atlantic City.
‘It was mayhem, literally people coming in waves running away,’ said Diego, who helped coach a Pleasantville youth football team involved in a game in which three people were shot and wounded in 2005. All survived. That same team was practicing in 2015 when a spectator was shot but survived.
Diego said his friend, a retired paramedic, gave first aid to 10-year-old Micah Tennant.
‘He applied pressure to the little boy’s wounds on his neck, trying to slow down the bleeding until the ambulance could come up,’ Diego said.
Police, firefighters, emergency personnel who were both on and off-duty came to the aid of players, parents, and spectators who ran for cover.
Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey who is running for president in 2020, tweeted about the football game shooting, which he characterized as ‘not normal,’ and called for stricter gun control measures.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also released a statement lamenting the violence.
‘Last night was a stark reminder that no community is immune from gun violence, and that we must not ever give up in our efforts to prevent such senseless acts,’ Murphy said Saturday.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G Tyner issued a statement over the weekend Saturday morning:
‘I want to thank the Pleasantville Police Department and the scores of off duty emergency personnel that assisted the victims and helped law enforcement promptly identify and locate those responsible for causing mayhem at the Pleasantville High School football game. Unlike some of the shootings that have occurred on school premises throughout the country, this incident had nothing to do with the students of Pleasantville High School or Camden High School.
‘The venue simply presented an opportunity for criminals to pursue their own form of petty vengeance against one another. As a result, an innocent child was caught and injured in their crossfire. Our community will not be held hostage by a few idiots intent on jeopardizing our safety and the safety of our children.’
Tyner told NJ.com that the game was ‘the most well-attended high school football game for this school in years, so there are many witnesses to the incident that are currently being interviewed.’