Bullet strikes wall after gun fires during fight at Delaware high school basketball game

Police said the weapon went off after it fell to the floor and one of the combatants stepped on it. No one was injured and the gun was found on the floor.

A closeup of a Delaware State Police vehicle

A Delaware State Police vehicle is seen in a file photo. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY News)

A gun fired once after it fell to the floor and someone stepped on it during “a large fight” Monday night at a high school basketball game in Delaware, state police said today.

The bullet struck a wall and no one was injured, police said about the latest in a series of unsettling violent incidents that have marred Delaware scholastic sports events since the fall. No one was injured during Monday’s violence, and no one has been arrested.

An exterior of a red-brick building on a sunny day
Appoquinimink High School is in west Middletown. (Courtesy of Appoquinimink School District)

Police said an unidentified number of suspects were seen running toward the school football stadium after the gun fired.

The gun was found in the hallway where the fight occurred at about 7:15 p.m., just outside the gymnasium in Middletown where Appoquinimink High was leading Tri-State Christian Academy in the fourth quarter. Two state troopers were inside the gym on an extra-duty assignment. People in the gym could see a skirmish through the small windows in the gym doors, and heard a loud clapping sound that many assumed was a gunshot.

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“We are deeply saddened by this incident, and thankful that no one was injured,” Appoquinimink School District Superintendent Matt Burrows wrote to families about the frightening scene that forced the game to be abruptly ended as the few hundred spectators ran out of emergency exits on the opposite side of the gym.

Burrows said several people also “voluntarily remained on site” to be questioned, but he did not specify whether they were participants or witnesses.

An aerial view of people running from a basketball court.
Spectators and participants scurry toward emergency exits after a gun fired during the fourth quarter of the game at Appoquinimink High. (Courtesy of Appoquinimink High)

Gun violence also struck outside a football game at Appoquinimink High in September while the Jaguars were hosting crosstown rival Middletown High.

That night social media lit up with a report that two people had been shot at the game, but police said it occurred just outside the school grounds, and one of the victims was a minor.

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One parent had reported on social media that the shooting outside the football game stemmed from a disagreement at the stadium, but police have not said whether the victims or suspects had any connection to the schools or the game.

Burrows’ statement today did not reference the September violence.

The superintendent said “there will be an increased presence of law enforcement officials at Appoquinimink High” and that the district’s crisis response team will be available for students and staff.

State police urge anyone who witnessed the incident to either contact Detective B. Timmons by calling 302-365-8434, send a private message to the Delaware State Police Facebook page, or call Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-847-3333.

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