WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police say a deadly shooting outside a youth football game Wednesday night had nothing to do with the game. Instead, they say it was related to an ongoing feud between the victim and the shooter.
The shooting happened at the Stryker Sports Complex around 9:30 in northeast Wichita during a football game for 10 to 12 year olds.
Police say they were responding to an unknown call for police at the complex. When they arrived, they heard multiple gunshots.
Two coaches that were at the game heard gunshots and that’s when people started running.
“Once we got everyone over to the corner safe, parents were looking for kids, they couldn’t find them. Some parents were grabbing kids trying to get them to safety not even knowing who the kids were. We just really went into survival mode, and I really appreciate people for doing that,” said coach Rontez Grayson.
Police said more than 500 people were at the scene at the time making it chaotic. They did not find the victim at the scene. They say someone drove the victim, Marquell Nolen, 31, of Wichita, to a hospital where he died from his injuries.
Investigators say they learned that Nolen got into a verbal argument with someone on the west side of the stadium bleachers. The argument turned into a physical fight, and the suspect pulled out a handgun and fired multiple shots, hitting Nolen. No other people were injured.
The suspect fled on foot. Police believe he lost a shoe as he ran away. They think a juvenile may have picked it up and taken it. They would like to find the shoe as well as the suspect pictured below.
If you recognize the suspect, call detectives at (316) 268-4407 or call Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous. That number is (316) 267-2111.
“In addition to apprehending the suspect, we also want to make sure these youth and families receive support for the mental health for this trauma that they witnessed,” said Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay. “So the city is partnering with the schools and other entities in the community to offer any type of help counseling, support to those that were there.”
Wichita City councilman Brandon Johnson said he is concerned for all the youth at the game that had to witness the shooting.
“These are permanent decisions being made on temporary emotions, and for years, we have been working to stop the violence here in the city of Wichita,” said Johnson. “There is a street team that has formed. We are trying to reach out and engage and incidents like this are always a setback when someone uses a gun to solve a disagreement.”
The league’s organizer, Capital Sports Institute, announced in a Facebook post late Wednesday night, all games for the entire league are canceled for the remainder of the season.
Also in the post, the Executive Board of Capital Sports Institute wrote the goal of the league was “to give inner-city children the opportunity to play under the lights on turf fields, with large crowds cheering them on to victory.”
However, the board wrote the league was forced to deal with arguments, fights, and litter on a weekly basis.
They also wrote on the Facebook post, “we are sending our hopes and prayers not only to the injured party’s family but also to all the families involved in this league and most importantly, to the children who have lost the great opportunity this year to simply play football.”