Bobby Holloman: Hero footballer, 13, makes coach duck down for safety when gun was fired at school game

The shooting occurred at around 8 pm on November 16 at a middle school championship game between Lumberton Junior High and St Paul's Middle School

Bobby Holloman: Hero footballer, 13, makes coach duck down for safety when gun was fired at school game
The 13-year-old Bobby Holloman (L) helped his coach Don Weller (R) to duck and stay safe as gunshots rang out (Screenshot/WRAL-TV, Facebook)
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LUMBERTON, NORTH CAROLINA: A 13-year-old student was hailed as a hero after he ran toward his teacher and made him duck for safety when multiple shots were fired at a middle school football game. One of his teammates' mother was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

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Middle school students were gathered on the playing field after a game on Wednesday night, November 16, when they heard gunshots, prompting some to drop to the ground while others ran for their lives. A 41-year-old mother of one of the players was reportedly shot in the parking lot outside the ground and airlifted to UNC Medical Center, where she was being treated for life-threatening injuries at the time of publication. The shooting took place at around 8 pm on Wednesday, November 16, after a middle school championship game between Lumberton Junior High and St. Paul's Middle School, when the players were being awarded trophies.

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At least seven shots can be heard in the video captured of that moment when students, teachers, and parents screamed in panic and scattered across the field. The footage was recorded by 13-year-old Bobby Holloman, who was described as a "hero" by his teacher Don Weller, who was also there. The clip showed Holloman running over to Weller and urging him to duck for safety. "Get down, Mr. Weller," he shouted, before the shocked teacher asked him what happened and he replied simply, "Gun." 

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Holloman's mother, 46-year-old Linda Renee Tomei, was also at the game and recalled how her son was in tears after the incident upon realizing his teammate's mother had been shot. "I just heard pop, pop, pop," said Tomei, as quoted by the Daily Mail. "It was scary because my child's there on an open field and I didn't know where the shooting was coming from." Speaking of her son, she said, "It was very scary for him but he did good. He's upset and he's been crying." The name of the victim has not been released but police said the suspect was dressed in black. Another video filmed from the field's viewing gallery captured Holloman filming his video in the middle of the field before breaking into a sprint toward Weller

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“It was overwhelming,” Holloman told WRBL. “I just thought about getting to safety. Anything can happen in just a minute and you’re not promised tomorrow.” Reflecting on the chaotic situation, the student told WRAL, "I wanted to make sure everybody else was okay before I got down, because that's right. In my book, that's right." Weller lauded Holloman's actions. "He helped me up and got me to the fence and reminded me to stay low to the ground. It kind of made me feel more assured and calmed me down a little bit," the teacher told the outlet. Holloman, who plays defensive back for his school, said his team had been basking in the glory of their victory just moments before the gunshots rang out. "We were talking about how we're ready to get the trophy and how it's going to feel," he recalled. "But it didn’t feel like we won a championship after what had happened."

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Robeson County school board member Tre Britt reassured students that the awards ceremony would be rescheduled. "The football players from Lumberton Junior & St. Paul's Middle worked hard to reach that stage & they WILL BE recognized for their efforts with a trophy presentation," he said. Meanwhile, coach Quentin Gore confirmed that no coaches or players were injured in the shooting.

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The Lumberton Junior High Vikings were beaten by the St Paul's Bulldogs 38-24. The Lumberton Police Department, Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina ALE, NC Highway Patrol, and the ATF are investigating the shooting at this time. 

If you or anyone you know has pertinent information related to the incident, you are urged to contact the Lumberton Police Department at 910-671-3845 or the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-761-3170 or by email at [email protected]

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