Gunfire sends bystanders into flight on public property in Auburn | Video

Derek Jennings, one of the owners of New Level Baseball, said the gunfire erupted in the middle of practice

Screenshot
A video shows players on a baseball field in Auburn taking cover amid the sound of gunshots May 19.

Screenshot A video shows players on a baseball field in Auburn taking cover amid the sound of gunshots May 19.

A shooting in Auburn near Isaac Evans Park on May 19 sent bystanders at a golf course fleeing and players at a baseball game across the river running after two groups involved in a dispute opened fire.

The Auburn Police Department responded at approximately 8:15 p.m. May 19 to reports of multiple shots fired near Isaac Evans Park, 29827 Green River Road Southeast, according to the department. Early investigation indicates gunfire arose after two groups involved in a dispute led to “at least one person opening fire,” resulting in non-life threatening injuries to two women.

Derek Jennings, one of the owners of New Level Baseball, said the gunfire erupted in the middle of practice for one of New Level Baseball’s 16-year-old teams.

Video of the incident showed the initial confusion of players as gunshots rang out, prior to running for cover.

Jennings said New Level Baseball canceled practice at Brannan Park for the week following the incident. Families have voiced safety concerns regarding the area, Jennings said.

“[I’ve] never been there before, where the safety of my players has been in question,” Jennings said.

Jennings said safety concerns will serve as the reason the City of Auburn will potentially lose New Level Baseball’s rentals.

“I’m not sure if the police have done everything to rectify the situation,” Jennings said.

Jennings stated his customer base felt unsafe in the area as a result of drug use and drug paraphernalia in the area and environmental factors like “tons of sketchy behavior” and “people sleeping everywhere.”

Jennings said New Level Baseball will search for an alternative field space moving forward.

On the other side of the river, a friend of Jennings said the gunfire broke out as he and his 14-year-old daughter played golf out in the Auburn Golf Course. Jennings’s friend requested to remain anonymous to protect his and his daughter’s identities out of safety following the incident. As he and his daughter measured a chip out on the course, the friend saw a man step out of a vehicle approximately 500 yards from he and his daughter’s location, he said. The friend saw the “diamond flash coming out of the barrel” of a firearm and watched, thinking “they were celebrating something.”

“It was mesmerizing,” Jennings’s friend said.

He jumped atop his daughter after he heard a bullet whiz past his head.

Jennings’s friend said time moved slow and he saw a “weird” vision in his head of a bullet striking him in the back: “Dad, I’m scared,” Jennings’s friend remembers his daughter saying.

“I’ve never been that scared,” Jennings’s friend said. “As soon as I jumped on her, it kicked in that [we] needed to get out of there, so we army-crawled, hearing bullets going by us.”

The friend and his daughter crawled to and hid behind the brick walls of the course’s Pro Shop where they encountered another man and woman sheltering from the gunfire. A Pro Shop employee let the man, his daughter, and the additional bystanders into the building as the firefight died down, he said.

Jennings’s friend said he will likely not return to the Auburn Golf Course with his daughter in the future.

“I don’t think I could bring her there without feeling some kind of way. I will never forget that. It sucks that I can’t go there because of the threat of getting shot,” the friend said. “I’ve never heard bullets whizzing by my ear. … That was traumatic as all can be.”

The friend said his daughter’s safety served as his main concern through the shooting.

“I was very proud of the way she handled herself by not panicking and doing what we needed to do to be safe in such a terrible, unfamiliar, scary situation,” the man said.

The two groups involved in the dispute fled the scene in separate vehicles following the shooting, according to the department. One of the vehicles crashed after leaving the area, with the suspects abandoning the vehicle and fleeing on-foot.

A K-9 track conducted on the suspects served as unsuccessful, according to the department.

First responders found a woman injured at the scene, with a second woman arriving at a local hospital after. The injuries the women suffered served as non-life threatening, according to the department.

The Auburn Police Department’s public information log listed 91 shell casings identified as evidence in the incident.


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