Police: Rifle involved in fight at youth soccer tournament

Sep 13, 2021, 8:34 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Police officers are trying to determine if a crime occurred when a fight among attendees of a youth soccer tournament in Salt Lake City escalated to involve a rifle.

“No one really knew, really, what was going on, and you didn’t know what to do other than just run,” said Erin Shepherd, who was at the tournament to watch her 16-year-old son play.

The fight happened Saturday around 2:30 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Regional Athletic Complex.

It caused panic among players and parents over fear of a possible active shooter situation.

“Everybody just started jumping the fence and started handing people over the fence,” said Shepherd.

Shepherd said she and dozens of others were able to hide in nearby homes until they learned it was safe to return to the playing fields.

Police said the incident started with an argument.

“Based on the preliminary investigation, the argument does not appear to be related to the soccer tournament or any of the games occurring at the complex,” police said in a press release. “Further, it does not appear that any shots were fired during this incident.”

After receiving the initial 911 call, officers had arrived and secured the area within 19 minutes, police told KSL-TV.

“Officers are continuing their investigation into the physical fight and are trying to determine the exact details of how the rifle may have been involved and are trying to determine whether any criminal act occurred involving the weapon,” the police statement continued.

Police encouraged anyone with information to call 801-799-3000 and reference case number 21-166016.

“At this time, an arrest hasn’t been made,” Sgt. Mark Wian with the Salt Lake City Police Department told KSL-TV. “That’s not to say an arrest won’t be made, but we still just need to figure out what the facts are.”

In a letter to soccer teams, U.S. Youth Soccer said it will be conducting its own investigation into the incident.

“Our actions today, and in the near future, will be swift, and given the circumstances, may be severe,” the letter said. “We do not take these decisions lightly, but given the current climate, we must make it clear that such behavior is not tolerated.”

U.S. Youth Soccer said it was saddened by the traumatic experience for those involved, but also proud of how its staff and volunteers handled the situation.

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Police: Rifle involved in fight at youth soccer tournament