A 12-year-old boy was injured after a shooting erupted outside of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School’s first football game of the season, ending the matchup before it reached halftime.

The defending Class 2A/1A state champion Poets were taking on Loyola Blakefield in their home opener, and were down 21-0 just before halftime. In a video clip of the game streamed by the NFHS Network and posted by Fox Baltimore, a stream of automatic gunfire can be heard, and players and spectators are seen running toward the southwest end of the stadium amid screams coming from the stands.

Content warning: The video below may be upsetting to some viewers.

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Police say the gunfire is believed to have occurred in the 1200 block of East Madison Street, which runs north of the stadium. An ambulance was observed in the 1100 block of Wilmot Court, in the adjacent Latrobe Homes housing project.

The young victim was taken to a hospital with injuries believed to be non-life-threatening, police said.

Acting Police Commissioner Richard Worley said private security chased the suspect, who got away.

“Yet again, another senseless, cowardly act of gun violence in our city that strikes a young child who is now in the hospital,” Worley told reporters.

Mayor Brandon Scott stressed that the shooting did not appear to have anything to do with the football game but it was “unfortunate that these students from Dunbar and Loyola and their families and everyone here had to go through this.”

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Dunbar High School’s football home opener was canceled mid-game when shots were fired outside the stadium. (Kaitlin Newman)

At around 8 p.m., India Stokes yelled at two police officers on the corner of Madison Street and Central Avenue. “I’m looking for my son,” Stokes, who lives in Belair-Edison, told him. “He was at this game.”

“There’s no one left over there,” the officer said.

Stokes and Nicole Brown, the boy’s aunt, kept walking frantically. The two decided to split up.

And then her son finally called back — he had left early.

“This is the norm now,” she said of the shooting.

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A parent of a Loyola Blakefield student told The Baltimore Banner that he was on the north side of the stadium when the shots rang out. “Anyone that was standing up in the back basically dove on top of everyone else to get cover,” he said.

The parent, who did not want to be identified, said he had called the mayor’s office and city schools police prior to the game asking for assurances that — in the wake of the Brooklyn Homes shooting — there would be adequate police presence.

“I don’t fault the opposing team or anybody,” he said. “In an ideal world we could’ve resumed the game and risen above, but for safety reasons, that couldn’t happen.”

Scott noted the ideal weather at the time the shooting occurred.

“This is folks’ neighborhood; it’s a beautiful night,” he said. “Folks are going to be outside, and they should be able to do that without someone cowardly coming to shoot them. ... We want young people to be outside having fun after school.”

justin.fenton@thebaltimorebanner.com

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