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‘Chaotic’ scene after gun scare sparks panic at soccer tournament

SURREY, B.C. – A gun scare sparked panic and confusion at a Surrey athletic park on Saturday.

According to CBC, police received reports of a male with a firearm. CBC reported that officers located a suspect and arrested him.

CBC also reported that the weapon turned out to be an imitation.

The Powell River Soccer Association had U12 boys and girls rep teams at the Whitecaps FC Adidas Cup tournament at Newton Athletic Park, where the incident took place.

Association president Nova Cleghorn was on a neighbouring pitch where the incident took place in the early afternoon.

“The (Powell River) girls were all playing soccer at the time and all of the sudden, they vacated the field and we, on the side, didn’t know what was happening,” Cleghorn told the newsroom.

Cleghorn and others were told that there was a man in the bush with a gun.

At that point, hundreds began running to safety.

“Then the Whitecaps coaches, got everybody to move to the farthest field away from where the incident happened,” Cleghorn said.

Cleghorn said “there was lots of fear, lots of stress” with parents and children crying.

“It was chaotic, for sure,” she said.

Cleghorn added, “It was pretty frustrating to see the kids crying and being so upset over something that didn’t need to happen.”

Some teams, including squads that travelled long distances to participate, were so shaken, they withdrew from the tournament.

“The next day a lot of players didn’t want to play because they were afraid to go back to the field,” Cleghorn said. “The Whitecaps did a really great job. They brought security in for the second day and sent out really good communication.”

But still, the kids were so scared and frustrated and as a parent it was super hard seeing those kids being afraid and siblings of kids being afraid because soccer is supposed to be fun. It’s not supposed to cause fear in kids.”

Both Powell River teams finished the tournament.

Taking place March 30th and 31st, the Adidas Cup involved boys and girls teams in the U9 to U12 age groups.

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