NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A terrifying incident at a North Charleston Recreation Department youth baseball game has many families feeling shaken.
“We were just at the field like any other night and Sylas was on the pitching mound and all of a sudden we heard boom boom and you just automatically think that it’s fireworks. Then it just continued,” said Lori Ferguson, whose son was playing in the game when the shots rang out. “Then you just heard everyone yelling ‘get down, get down, everybody get down!'”
After grabbing her three other children, Ferguson said she looked up to see her 8-year-old son, Sylas, laying on the pitcher’s mound alone.
“It was the worst experience of my entire life. You never think going to a baseball field that you have to live through something like that,” said Ferguson.
On the other side of the field, Sylas didn’t know what was going on.
“First when I heard the boom boom boom, I thought it was fireworks so I looked up, but I didn’t see any fireworks. I heard my coach say get down, get down, so I just got down,” said Sylas. “And I was really scared.”
He recalled hearing bullets hit the fence.
The minutes that followed were chaos. Ferguson said people were calling 911 left and right, parents were huddled over the children, and no one knew if anyone was hurt.
“Everybody literally dropped,” said Ferguson.
She had other people’s kids closer to her trying to keep them safe while cradling her 3-month-old baby in her arms.
“I literally felt like I was in a movie. A nightmare.”
Around ten minutes after the shots rang out, Ferguson said a representative with the recreation department told the crown that the police were on scene and that everybody could get to their cars and leave. But, Ferguson says she wasn’t able to see any officers and had to put her trust in someone that was not a first responder.
“Finally when I got to my car, by myself, I see the police at the end of the parking lot near the playground doing what they’re supposed to be doing, I guess. No lights, no sirens, nobody knew they were there. It just breaks my heart that nobody checked on these kids. We just had to trust this man that has nothing to do with the emergency department that we had to leave.”
The car ride home was tense as Ferguson’s two daughters, and Sylas ducked their heads under the car window out of fear. Once arriving home, she says they were scared to get out of the car.
A family sleepover seemed to calm some nerves.
“We just brought mattresses into our room and we all slept together and loved on each other and I just reassured them that we’re in our home, we’re safe, their dad’s going to protect us and we’re where we need to be,” said Ferguson.
Sylas and the rest of the Ferguson family say they felt a little better the next morning, but they won’t be returning to Pepperhill Park.
“I won’t go back to Pepperhill. It’s just not safe. I can’t relive that again.”
This is a similar sentiment from other families who were present.
Nikki Shealy was home with her other children while her husband and 10-year-old were at the game. However, she doesn’t believe they will return to this particular diamond.
“At this point, no. I don’t have that confidence to bring my kids out here anymore. I am so shaken,” said Shealy.
Despite this incident, Sylas says he will continue to play the sport he loves, just in a different location.
The North Charleston Police Department is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to suspects in this case. Activists and lawmakers are calling for changes to curb gun violence in the city.