This article appeared in the Nov. 29, 2018, edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
A final report from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism reveals that a fight in the stands, which included a stun gun, set off the initial panic Aug. 25 during a high school football game between Bryant and Benton at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
The report, obtained Wednesday by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, said panic and confusion spread quickly among the crowd of 38,000 on hand to watch the Salt Bowl, an annual matchup between the Saline County rivals.
That led to a "mass panic situation," with an estimated 25,000 spectators eventually fleeing in fear that an active shooter was in the stadium, according to the report.
The report said no evidence was found of any shots being fired during the panic, and no active shooter was ever confirmed. No charges have been filed against any of people involved in the altercation and none are expected, Arkansas Parks and Tourism Executive Director Kane Webb said.
Officials said the incident began when a fight between about 10 male youths broke out around 9:05 p.m. inside the stadium, and one of the individuals pulled out a stun gun.
Multiple spectators in the section saw the stun gun and began yelling "Gun, Gun," which led to hundreds of spectators running north in the stadium stands and others fleeing toward exit ramps throughout the stadium.
The group involved in the altercation entered the stadium corridor and ran north past the concession stands, yelling "Gun, Gun," the report said. The person with the stun gun continued to activate it as he ran through a corridor, and touched a juvenile girl on the back of her upper thigh with the stun gun as he passed her.
Terri Rutledge, emergency services manager for Arkansas State Parks, said the girl told officials that she didn't think the suspect intentionally touched her with the stun gun. Rutledge said he thought the suspect activated the gun out of panic.
"The whole thing was a mass panic situation," Rutledge said.
Sports on 03/27/2020
Print Headline: Report: Fight set off panic at War Memorial