By Alberto Gilman
On Friday, September 30 at 9:35 p.m., City of Newburgh Police reported shots fired following a dispute in the north parking area at Newburgh Free Academy. Approximately 2,000 spectators were in attendance for the NFA Goldbacks football game against the Warwick Wildcats.
City of Newburgh Police Chief Anthony Geraci said five shots were fired with three victims injured shortly after the end of Friday's game. City police transported two of the three shooting victims in their vehicles to the local hospital while the third was treated with a tourniquet on scene. None of the sustained injuries were life threatening according to Geraci.
“One was a 43-year-old female who was shot in the foot, 19-year-old female who was shot in the thigh and a 21-year-old male who was shot in the ankle,” Geraci said. “It is a very active investigation.”
All three victims were identified as Newburgh residents
According to Geraci, 17 other agencies were on scene at the high school, assisting in the investigation, including New York State Police, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Newburgh PD, New Windsor PD, Warwick PD, Cornwall PD, Walden PD, Monroe PD, Chester PD, Woodbury PD, City of Middletown PD, FBI Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Orange County EMS, City of Newburgh Fire Department, City of Newburgh DPW, Mobile Life, Orange County Emergency Services and Newburgh Enlarged School District.
Police personnel were stationed along South St. and Fullerton Ave. No arrests have been made, but police later released a photo of two individuals identified as persons of interest. Investigators interviewed spectators, collected eye witness accounts and reviewed video evidence. School security camera footage is also being reviewed to assist in the investigation.
Newburgh Enlarged City School District Deputy Superintendent Ed Forgit joined Geraci and other personnel to provide a statement.
“Just want to make sure that everyone involved this evening is safe. The district takes these things very seriously. Our number one priority is safety,” Forgit stated. “Safety protocols were in place this evening, we will be investigating all of the activities that took place to ensure that the protocols were followed.”
Speaking on the security process for athletic events, Forgit said students have to pre-purchase tickets for the event, meet specific criteria and are subject to metal detector wanding before entering the stadium.
On Thursday, September 29, a previous shooting had taken place that resulted in a 29-year-old male who had been shot multiple times and died from his sustained injuries and a 5-year-old who had been shot in the leg. Geraci addressed gun violence in the city in his closing statements to the media.
“It’s unacceptable. Everyone that you see standing behind me and our community, we’re fed up with the gun violence in this community. The trauma that’s being inflicted upon our youth and this community has to stop and has to stop with all of us as one community,” said Geraci.
The district released the following statement on the school website following the shooting the previous night.
“All activities at NFA campuses for today, Saturday, October 1st are canceled. Last night there was a shooting incident on the grounds on one our high school campuses, outside of the security perimeter for an event taking place. We are thankful for the quick and thorough response of our local law enforcement agencies and security personnel. At this time, there is limited information that we can provide as we wait for a thorough investigation to be conducted.”
The statement continued that the district’s Critical Stress Management (CISM) Team is preparing to assist families and students during this time with support if needed and more information will be released and provided soon by the district. The district urges anyone from the district who was in attendance for the game to contact the City of Newburgh Detective Division. They can call them at 845-569-7509 and callers to this line can remain anonymous.