BROWNSVILLE, TN (WMC) – A 22-year Army veteran is being called a hero for stopping a 16-year-old gunman who opened fire into a crowd at a high school parking lot.
Brownsville police said Patrick Shields saved lives when he jumped into action amidst fear and chaos. He said he was simply acting on his instincts.
It was a joyful Friday night of tailgating in the parking lot of the Haywood County Football field after a big homecoming win in front of a packed crowd.
“I’m willing to guess 300 or 400 people here,” said Brownsville Police Assistant Chief Kelvin Evans.
Shields was packing up his tailgating area around 9:30 p.m. when people started running.
“I could hear just a bunch of kids hollering and screaming and at that point, I hear something go pap,” Shields said.
In the chaos, Shields realized someone was shooting. Hidden behind his truck, one thought came to mind.
“Somebody needs to get this weapon from this kid,” Shields said.
The shooter kept firing into the crowd. When he got close to Shields, he grabbed him.
“I tackled him up on that fence right there and grabbed that hand with the weapon in it and we fell to the ground and the weapon came out of his hand,” Shields said.
Asst. Chief Evans ran over after hearing the shots. When he arrived, Shields had subdued the 16-year-old shooter and Shields’ brother was keeping everyone away from the gun.
Police said two people were shot, but both should make full recoveries.
“His actions stopped all that because it could have been something fatal come out of this deal,” Asst. Chief Evans said.
Shields currently serves in the National Guard and was in the Army for 22 years. He doesn’t have much interest in the praise he’s received from a town thankful that he saved lives
I wouldn’t consider myself a hero just taking it in, Shields said. I was just trying to diffuse the problem.
“He downplayed a hero but he’s a hero,” Asst. Chief Evans said. “He needs to be praised and well praise him and if he don’t like it, I’m sorry.”
Police said the shooter opened fire after a fight. That shooter’s identity has not been released because he is a minor.
The juvenile shooter was in court Monday, Oct. 8, which was reset until next Monday, Oct. 15.
Police are asking the District Attorney to try him as an adult.