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Gun interrupts kids’ soccer tournament in Salt Lake City; no arrests

Players and parents scale and jump a fence after parents say a gun was pulled during an argument at a soccer tournament. Photo: Erin Shephard

SALT LAKE CITY — Spectators and soccer players were sharing their accounts of a scary situation involving a gun at a Salt Lake City soccer tournament. It took place at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Saturday.

Parents said after someone shouted that there was an active shooter; everyone in the park started running for cover.

Erin Shephard was there at the game and said, “One of the defenders yelled, ‘Active Shooter! Run!’ and everybody — no one saw a shooter or heard a shooter — but everybody started running crazy and screaming for their kids.”

Chaos ensues after gun pulled at soccer tournament in Salt Lake City

She said there were at least eight soccer games happening at the same time.

Shephard said that as everyone ran away, they eventually all ended up at a chain-link fence that borders the area. People started to hop the fences and run into backyards.

“There was houses on the south side that people started pounding on the doors asking people to let them in. There was about four houses that people just opened their doors and let all these random teens in.”

She said that it was a scary moment.

“This team of about 13-year-old girls was just sobbing and terrified; people were trying to find their kids or hadn’t brought their phones … there were hundreds of people running, and the older people who couldn’t run were hiding behind cars. ”

Shepard said rumors started to fly, saying it was anything from parents fighting, to gang violence, to someone with an automatic rifle or someone pulling a prank.

Police investigating, no arrests made

KSL received a copy of an email from US Youth Soccer, the body in charge of the tournament, confirming that there was a gun pulled, but no shots fired.

Chris Webb, director of Competition & Event Operations, said that two adult spectators from the same team of 13-year-old girls were involved.

“One of the individuals pulled a gun [no shots were fired] which resulted in staff and referees clearing all teams, families, spectators from the area immediately.

“Games resumed play once the police gave approval that it was safe to return to the fields, however Jonathan Berzins [league manager] did communicate with the teams that if anyone feels unsafe returning to the fields to contact him to reschedule their games.”

Webb originally added that the individual in question was in custody, but Salt Lake City police told KSL NewsRadio that was not the case.

Rifle used in argument

In speaking to KSL NewsRadio, Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Mark Wian confirmed that the altercation was unrelated to the soccer tournament and was not a domestic dispute.

“There was some sort or dispute or altercation that turned physical, which ultimately escalated and boiled over to where a weapon became involved,” he said

Wian said the relationship between the two people isn’t known at the time but did confirm the weapon involved was a rifle, and no shots were fired. He also added that at this point no arrests have been made and they are continuing to investigate.

In a statement released by SLCPD on Monday, the police added that, “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 SLCPD has identified the primary involved parties.”

SLCPD has asked that anyone who may have witnessed the incident at this tournament or who may have photos or videos to reach out to police at 801-799-3000; the reference case number 21-166016.

If you have any information, photos or videos that you would like to share with KSL NewsRadio, please send them to radionews@ksl.com.

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KSL has reached out to both US Youth Soccer for comments. US Soccer said it cannot comment on an active investigation.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. Stay tuned to KSL NewsRadio for the latest updates.

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