The sound of gunfire and at least one shattered window at the Big League Dreams sports complex prompted the evacuation of upwards of 600 players and fans just prior to 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Sheriff’s public information officer, Deputy Dave Konecny, said the rifle reports were tracked to the 19000 block of South McKinley Avenue about a mile west of the BLD stadium. Deputies determined the trajectory of the bullets and contacted the residents of the home where the shots were believed to be to be coming from. The residents arrived home after being gone for the day just as deputies arrived.
They reportedly told Sheriff’s deputies that they had been away and had not been doing shooting of any kind but that a friend may have been at their house using an empty 50-gallon drum behind their house as a target. Learning of his address in Modesto, they located the individual – Max Moreno, 19 – and arrested him on four charges. He was transported to the San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp. He is being held in lieu f $356,000 bail, according to a Sheriff’s website.
He had allegedly been firing a high powered rifle with 5.56 caliber rounds. However the weapon was not recovered as of press time Monday, deputies said. Moreno was charged with two felonies, shooting at an inhabited dwelling and the willful discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner. He was also charged with resisting arrest and vandalism damage to property – both misdemeanors.
Two mothers sitting in the stands with young children – watching their teens and husbands play – said the sounds of distant gunfire lasted about three hours until word filtered through the stands that a bullet had smashed through a window in the south clubhouse and fans and players were leaving the stadium. One mother said an employee had been washing windows nearby and was narrowly missed.
The stadium employees began to ask everyone to either leave the stadium or stand behind a wall for protection from the gunfire coming from the west. One mom said it was difficult to keep her young children from panicking given the incident actually instilling fear and panic among the adults in the stands. Coaches ordered their players back into dugout areas for their safety.
BLD Manager Roy Fetherolf voiced his pride in his staff of four managers and 20 other employees for their calm reaction in leading the people out of the stadium in the face of the gunfire. He said there were 500 to 600 guests in the ballpark along with one soccer game and three fields of softball action underway at the time.
Manteca Police officers responded to the 911 “shots fired” calls as did Sheriff’s deputies while the BLD staff was already handling the evacuation operation. Feterolf said he had recently put his crews through evacuation procedure training but none that had been related to shooting scenarios.
Moreno is scheduled to appear in the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court today at 1:30 p.m.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.