Police are investigating a fierce gunfight in California that has left children fleeing a playground and the cousin of an NFL star dead.
At around 6:00 p.m. on May 17, residents and their children fled in panic from Jack Farrell Park on the 2500 block of Fordham Street in Palo Alto as two unknown parties exchanged bursts of bullets that left 34-year-old Ralph Fields Jr., cousin of Las Vagas Raiders’ wide receiver Davante Adams, dead.
A video on Twitter shows a child saying “tag”—presumably in the middle of the playground game—before running away from shots of gunfire that erupted close by.
WATCH WITH CAUTION: absolutely horrifying video of kids playing at Jack Farrell Park in East Palo Alto during the shooting between two groups. 3 others were also hurt according to PD. Complete reckless disregard for life @KTVU pic.twitter.com/Q2AoaIfdIF
— James Torrez (@JamesTorrezNews) May 18, 2022
“You even broke the street code by shooting where kids were,’ Pastor Paul Bains said at a May 18 press conference on the incident, adding that the shooters’ actions were an “egregious act on the sanctity of life.”
“At this point in the investigation, we believe this was a targeted attack and not a random act of violence,” East Palo Alto Interim Police Chief said at the Wednesday press conference. “We’ve already stepped up our presence in the area with extra patrols.”
“Families and children practicing softball and playing on the playground structures found themselves caught in the crossfires, now traumatized,” said Gina Sudaria, superintendent of the Ravenswood City School District, in a May 17 statement to the school community, first reported by Palo Alto Online.
“In response, Ravenswood central office staff, mental health supports, school-based counselors, and psychologists will be deployed to each site first thing in the morning,” she said.
Residents and city leaders held a vigil Wednesday evening at the park.
The City of East Palo Alto will release more information on the shooting incident in a special city council meeting at 6:00 p.m. on May 19.