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After avoiding bullets, Minneapolis youth football team looking for new, safer home

Around 50 kids were practicing when gunfire erupted.

After narrowly escaping a barrage of gunfire during football practice on Monday, a Minneapolis youth football team is hoping to find a safer place to play. 

The Minnesota Jays, an AAU traveling football team for kids ages 5-13, was practicing at Jordan Park in north Minneapolis Monday afternoon when two groups in the area exchanged gunfire. Bullets buzzed past players, coaches and parents heads and could be heard pinging off poles, fences and a nearby brick building. 

A mother of a 12-year-old player described the horrifying moments in a Facebook Live video that has more than 1 million views

"When the gunfire started, there was mothers crying and screaming and trying to run to the playground to try and get the younger kids off the playgrounds, and the coaches were screaming at the boys to get down. The kids were out in an open field taking cover from gunfire," said Carrie Heinrich.

She said bullets were being fired from a car toward a house near Jordan Park, which then escalated with the car coming "back around for more shots at the house," with the targets of the gunfire responding by getting into a car "and started shooting as well."

"I could hear the bullets whizzing over my head. The worst feeling as a parent was seeing my kid lay out in the middle of an open field with bullets flying and not being able to get to him," Heinrich explained.

Luckily, none of the approximately 50 players were shot. But the team has since vowed never to play at Jordan Park again. The park is located just a couple of blocks from where a 17-year-old boy was left to die after being shot the day before the Monday shootout. 

"We had a shooting two blocks away from our practice and bullets was flying and hitting light poles and the brick building behind our practice field. Over 50 shots flying past 50 kids from ages kid 5 to 13 years old. So we are looking for a new practice field and looking for ways to get these kids from home to football safely," the organizer of a GoFundMe campaign for the team wrote. 

The money will be used to transport the kids to and from practice safety, and to "hopefully" find a permanent home for the team to practice and play. 

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The fundraiser has so far raised just over $3,000 of a $70,000 goal. To donate, click here

According to a statistical release from Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) earlier this week, there had been more than 111 people shot since Memorial Day – the day George Floyd died while in police custody. 

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