Riverside-Northern football game ends with gunfire in parking lot

By Piper Winton, Jaden Butler, Jacob Hindman and Jakyies Evans

When gunshots filled the Friday night air, Riverside students, athletes and staff scattered.

Around 9:30 pm Friday Night, following Riverside’s 20-0 victory over Northern High School, a car drove recklessly into the main parking lot on the home side of Durham County Memorial stadium and started firing shots.

 A 17- year-old Riverside student was struck in the leg.  

Police arrived within minutes. The student was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries and has since been released and is recovering at home.

Eyewitnesses say they heard multiple gunshots and saw people running out of their cars. 

Senior Zachary Dennis was in the parking lot about to leave when a shot was fired through his friend’s car window.

photo courtesy of Zachary Dennis

“We were pulling out of the parking lot of the Durham County Stadium and were sitting there,” Dennis said. “We heard just a loud pop and then the car window shattered immediately in the backseat. I tried not to be scared and to try to get out. That was the only thing on my mind.” 

Riverside’s football team was also still at the stadium when the shooting happened. 

After the game the players lined up to load the bus and started walking out the parking lot. They were halfway to the bus when the shots were fired. Players hid behind cars until the shooting stopped, then coaches ordered them to run back to the football field.

Other students were leaving through the parking lot as the shooting happened. Cars stopped and no one could leave. Students say they saw people run out of their cars and towards the woods while others ran out of the stadium to hide behind cars. 

Riverside High School junior Collin Phillips was walking around the stadium at the time of the shooting. 

“I saw a car in the parking lot driving around and shooting and I started running,” Phillips said.

“I saw a bunch of people running and I saw a police car,” said sophomore Rafaela Drake.

Sophomore Grayden Grambo was also walking near the parking lot. He says he did not see the car but he heard the gunshots and also started running. 

Many teachers were also at the game but did not know about the shooting until it was over.

Band director Steven Mann was not aware of the incident. He and the Riverside marching band were loading the bus and getting ready to leave on the other side of the stadium as it happened. 

“I didn’t even hear the shots fired,” Mann said. “I actually went to bed that night and didn’t even know that had happened until Saturday.” 

English teacher Christopher Meglin was also on the activity bus with the marching band. 

“We traveled to the visitors side of the stadium the night of the game, saw the whole game, loaded our bus, and we left,” Meglin said. 

Like Mann, he didn’t find out about the shooting until much later. 

Science teacher Grace Farley was also at the game Friday night, but left before it happened. 

“There were about four minutes left in the game and I decided to leave before there were a bunch of cars trying to get out,” she said. ‘I didn’t hear that there was a shooting until the day after when I got a message from principal Kinard.” 

As local media began reporting the incident, Riverside principal Leslie Kinard sent a voice message out on Saturday notifying Riverside families of the incident. 

“At this time we have no information to suggest anyone at the game was being directly threatened, but one individual received non-life threatening injuries. Law enforcement on the scene responded immediately to investigate and to support students and staff on-site, and I want to thank them for their quick response. They are continuing to investigate this situation, and I will share updates with you as soon as possible.”

Durham Public Schools also released a statement on Saturday. 

“Durham Public Schools is grateful for the quick action of law enforcement working Friday night’s game between Northern and Riverside, as well as for students’ quick thinking in taking shelter during the incident. We are also grateful no one received life-threatening injuries from this reckless act. We encourage anyone with information to contact CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. The safety of our school communities is our highest priority.”

According to CBS 17 News this was one of several shootings in Durham last weekend. Additionally, there was a shooting following a high school football game between Seventy-First and Cape Fear High Schools in Fayetteville that same night. 

“It’s just sad that people have to worry about gun violence at a friendly football game” says Dennis.

Neither Riverside nor DPS have shared any further details about the event.

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