NOPD boosts presence after St. Roch youth football player, coach shot at practice

NOPD boosts presence after St. Roch youth football player, coach shot at practice
Jonathan Bullington, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Jonathan Bullington, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The St. Roch Crusaders youth football team returned to the field just three days after a coach and football player were shot at practice.

Police Superintendent Michael Harrison watched as four NOPD squad cars circled the block during Monday night's practice.

Coach Wyman Diaz and 14-year-old Kendall Pitfield remained at home, recovering from their injuries. Diaz and Pitfield were shot at the St. Roch playground Friday night.

The 14-year-old describes what happened Friday night as gunshots filled the air.

"Everybody ran when they started shooting, everybody ran. I just felt my leg and I felt the hole and I thought I was dead," Pitfield said.

The St. Roch football team was about to start practice, getting ready for Saturday's championship game, when stray bullets from a nearby shooting struck both Pitfield and Diaz.

Diaz says he's not angry that he was struck. Rather, he was more mad that his players were involved in such senseless violence.

"I'm disappointed that they'd take it to the park, bring violence to the park because the park is there for the kids," Diaz said.

NOPD Fifth District Commander Christopher Goodly says increased police presence will continue as long as the team practices in the park.

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