Durham Bulls open park to young baseball players after gunfire canceled their championship

Josh Chapin Image
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
DBAP hosts young baseball players who had season cut short by shooting
It's not often kids get free rein of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, but that's exactly what happened Tuesday night for a select group of youngsters.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's not often kids get free rein on a field like the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, but that's what happened Tuesday night for some little leaguers who were treated to a night of fun.

The Bulls reached out to the Little League teams after kids, coaches and parents were forced to duck for cover when shots rang out in Wilson on Sunday at the Gillette Athletic Complex.

Police determined the incident was not an active shooter and none of the people at the ballpark were targeted or injured in the shooting. Still, the tournament, which was supposed to cap off a season for these All-Star players, was canceled.

"This is the memory we'll have and they get to be little boys and play," said Lindsey Stephenson, whose son is part of the Bull City Little League. "It sounds cliché but baseball is family."

She said she's hopeful this night will do wonders for her son's confidence. She said he told her he didn't want to play on an open field anymore because of what he went through over the weekend.

"I'm glad this is happening," she said. "Every boy out here comes to a Bulls game at some point in the summer. We've got tickets to two more games this summer so we'll leave and he'll have this memory."

Wilson Police Department said Tuesday they continued searching the baseball complex grounds for clues. Detectives will keep looking at all the evidence as they figure out who pulled the trigger.

"This is the end of what should've been a celebratory summer for them competing for a state championship at a great facility in Wilson and it was ruined by this horrific incident," said Phil Holmes, president of the South Durham Little League.

He said the Bulls reached out after they saw what happened and offered his Little Leaguers and others the night to heal.

"These are families who have spent many nights at Herndon Park or at the Bull City Fields or down at Pittsboro Elementary ballfields," Holmes said. "I just hope these kids will continue to play this game and not allow this to get in their way."