By Brynn Gibson
Local News Editor
(Updated as of December 9th, 2021)
A gunman wounded two people in the parking lot outside Westmont High School during the final minutes of the CCS football championship game between St. Francis and Junipero Serra High School on Nov. 26. Medics quickly arrived on the scene and declared the injuries to both victims non-life-threatening. The two victims, adult males, were transported to a local hospital. Police have not released information regarding a motive, the identities of the victims, or any potential suspects.
Spectators and players heard the shots around 9:00 PM, right after Serra scored a touchdown with just two minutes and 18 seconds left in the game. Spectators reported six shots in total: two initial shots then four shots in rapid succession. The sound of gunfire triggered panic amongst the over 5,000 fans in the bleachers. LGHS junior Massimo Richiuso, who was watching the game with friends, explained the initial confusion regarding the noise: “When I first heard the gunshots I thought they were burbles from a car exhaust. Then, everybody started freaking out and I realized what was actually happening.”
Videos posted on social media depict the St. Francis team taking cover on the field, lying face down near the sidelines. Members of the Serra team ran towards an embankment off the field. In a statement to the San Jose Mercury News, Patrick Walsh, coach at Serra High School, described the scene as “chaotic.”
Avery Adams, another junior at LGHS, described her experience: “seeing the players just drop to the ground is the thing that made it feel real, then people started running and panic set in. I never thought I would witness something like that at a high school football game.”
Los Gatos math teacher Mike Navrides, the game’s announcer, did not initially hear the shots. After CCS officials informed him of what was happening in the parking lot, he instructed the stadium to remain calm. A regular announcer at CCS events, Navrides explained how he handled the unexpected situation. “I kept my voice calm and confident (at least I tried to) when I spoke to make sure everyone was informed as to what was happening and for them to realize that there was absolutely no reason to panic,” he said in an email interview.
Players and spectators remained sheltered for about 10 minutes. There were no injuries inside of the stadium, but authorities sealed the area during investigations.
CCS officials allowed the game to resume shortly before 10:00 PM after police cleared the scene. School officials eased fears with individual announcements; President of St. Francis High School Jason Curtis wrote from the stands, “There was a security situation outside the stadium that has been resolved by the authorities. All spectators and players are safe, the game will resume momentarily, and fans may now leave the stadium if they wish to do so.” Serra won the CCS Division I championship with a 16-12 victory following the almost hour-long delay.
(Sources: Kron4, ABC, Mercury News)