METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - For many Jefferson Parish families, high school football at Joe Yenni Stadium is a favorite pastime. But what happened in and around the stadium last week is concerning for some.
Violence erupted during the East Jeff-Bonnabel game Friday, starting with fights inside the stadium and escalating to gunfire outside the gates. One teenager was injured, and officers found three semi-automatic handguns near the scene.
Deputies arrested three men on various charges after the incident.
Thursday, two different schools played, as Lusher took on Riverdale. Still, some in the crowd said the violence several days weighed heavily on their minds.
"You can't go anywhere anymore and be safe," said Linda Burgess, whose granddaughter performed with the Riverdale dance team Thursday. "It's just scary. You never know. I'm scared. I didn't want to let her come by herself so I came too."
Burgess and others in attendance Thursday noticed a much heavier police presence, as the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office is beefing up manpower at Joe Yenni Stadium for the rest of the season.
"To hopefully prevent anything else from happening, we've increased the number of detail officers -- both inside the stadium and outside," said JPSO spokesman Col. John Fortunato. "We will also send additional plain clothes personnel from street crimes unit into the area surrounding the stadium."
During the incident last week, deputies ejected those involved in the fights from the stadium, and officers were positioned outside when the shots rang out, Fortunato said.
"There are people that are in that stadium to enjoy the game and it's unfortunate that there's a chosen few that want to be disruptive and when that happens, we make sure that we address it immediately," he said.
While folks we talked with were glad to see more deputies, they said it shouldn't have to be that way.
"It's a shame that kids can't behave themselves and come to a function and have a good time without getting in the midst of having guns and knives. It's crazy. It's insane," said Gary Gruenig.