Falcons catch glimpse of police chase

Published 12:15 am Friday, August 5, 2011

NATCHEZ — The sirens may not have gotten their attention, but the scene to follow certainly did.

When the Natchez Falcons youth football team watched as police chased a suspect across their practice field near the Steckler Multipurpose Building Wednesday evening, it was hard for them to focus afterward.

“It had to be between 6 and 7,” Falcons coach Ernest Woods said. “We heard the sirens from every angle, but we didn’t think anything of it at first. We figured there might have been a wreck somewhere.

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“After that, we saw someone running behind Rite Aid, and all of a sudden he climbed the fence (behind Rite Aid), fell in the ditch and started coming up here.”

Woods said the suspect ran around the Steckler building and across the field on the opposite end of where they were practicing. Before the suspect made his way across the field, Woods said he alerted the coaches to keep the children safe.

“I hollered at the coach (on the field) and told him to huddle them up,” Woods said. “He ran across the field, and one cop was on his feet (chasing him) while another one was in the vehicle.”

Deselle Davis, the coach on the field at the time of the incident, said he promptly responded to Woods’ warning.

“We got them all together in one spot,” Davis said. “It was just like it was a fire or tornado drill. We didn’t know what was going on. We were kind of surprised.”

Shane Callihan, 12, said the police car that was chasing the suspect cut across the field and stopped in front of where the suspect disappeared into the underbrush. He said several other police cars showed up on the scene as well.

“They sent the canine unit and they got him,” Callihan said.

Carvontae Minor, 12, said he watched in the huddle as the suspect climbed over the fence at the edge of the field and ran into the bushes near the Natchez Trace.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” Minor said.

Eleven-year-old Brandon Butler also said the situation took him by surprise.

“I didn’t know what was happening,” Butler said. “I wasn’t scared, I was just confused.”

Woods said the police cars stayed in the area for approximately 30 minutes total. Even when the incident was over, Butler said it was still on everyone’s minds for the rest of practice.

“It was hard (to focus), because everyone would just keep talking about it, and no one would listen,” Butler said.