JACKSON, Tenn. — A homecoming celebration quickly transitioned to dangerous chaos Friday night after a football game in Tennessee, but the quick thinking of a civilian kept a bad situation from potentially becoming much worse.
Two victims – Demetrius Harper and Cameshia Murphy – were shot, according to a report from the Brownsville Police Department. Both were treated and released. Harper was hit twice in the back and Murphy was hit in the foot.
The shooter, a 16-year-old juvenile, was quickly apprehended – thanks to Patrick Shields.
Shields is a 1996 graduate of Haywood High School who has served in the Army for 22 years, including three deployments. He currently serves in the National Guard.
He watched his son, Taylor, and the rest of the Tomcat football team win their homecoming game over neighboring rival Crockett County on Friday night.
But he didn’t expect his military training to become necessary while he and his brother were cleaning up their tailgating area after the game.
“My brother and I were cleaning up, and we heard a bunch of kids hollering and yelling across the street at Walgreen’s, but we didn’t know what was going on,” Shields said. “Then we heard sounds like fireworks … like pow pow pow.
“And I looked over there and saw the flame coming out of a pistol, and a bunch of the kids were running toward us.”
Shields said he saw the shooter and the gun in his hand.
“It looked like he was aiming for one person, but I don’t know who,” Shields said. “They were all running toward us, but he wasn’t shooting in our direction.”
Shields said he had a few seconds to decide what he would do when he got within arm’s length of the shooter.
“I grabbed him by the arm that was holding the gun and pulled him toward me and threw him up against the fence,” Shields said. “Then I grabbed him by the back of the shirt and got him on the ground.”
A police officer was already headed in that direction and he was there quickly. Brownsville Police Assistant Chief Kelvin Evans was on the scene quickly as well and helped put handcuffs on the suspect and take him away.
The shooter is charged with criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. He’s being held in the juvenile detention center.
A statement from Brownsville Police Chief Barry Diebold commended Shields for his work.
“Mr. Shields’ quick thinking saved many lives,” Diebold’s said.
Follow Brandon Shields on Twitter: @JSEditorBrandon