Father speaks out after son struck by 'celebratory gunfire' at Oakland Coliseum on 4th of July
OAKLAND, Calif. - A father whose son was struck by celebratory gunfire on the Fourth of July at the Oakland Coliseum is speaking out to spread awareness about what happened to their family.
Albert Cottrell IV and his family attended the Oakland A’s game at the Coliseum on July 4, and stayed to watch the fireworks show after the game. He and his family made their way onto the outfield with thousands of other people to sit on blankets and watch the fireworks.
As the lights went out and the show began, Cottrell noticed his 11-year-old son rocking back and forth. The boy said, ‘Something hit me. I got hit. Something hit me.’"
A bullet about the size of a quarter was lodged in the boy’s arm. Cottrell saw a hole on the shoulder of his son's jacket and blood on the shirt before realizing his son had been shot.
"In my mind, I don't know if there's an active shooter there… panic came in at that point," he said. "There's thousands of people with their blankets and because of sound of fireworks, no one else knew what was going on."
Cottrell pushed his way past security, flagged down an A's staffer, and called for help. Once in the ER, the boy's arm started to swell where the bullet came to rest after it traveled through his shoulder and stopped near his elbow. Cottrell said officers, EMTs, stadium ushers, and even a medical staffer all told him that celebratory gunfire in the neighborhood near the Oakland Coliseum happens every Fourth of July, but he had no idea.
He’s calling on the A’s to offer a warning to future guests about the event.
"You got to warn people man, it's completely irresponsible and negligent," he said. "We are all blessed that there wasn't a fatality that happened that night."
Cottrell is also offended someone in A's management called to offer free tickets to a game within 24 hours of the incident. The 11-year-old was one of a handful of people hit by bullets or fragments from celebratory gunfire that police said may have been fired from an assault-style rifle, about a mile away from the stadium.
The 11-year-old is expected to make a full recovery.
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"He doesn't ever want to go back to the Coliseum again," Cottrell said. "He don't know exactly how this is going to affect him in the short and long run."
The A’s released the following statement on the incident:
"The safety of our fans, staff, and players is our first priority. we wish all those impacted by the July 4th incident speedy recoveries, both physically and emotionally. We have reached out to impacted families to offer support. Moving forward, we will continue our efforts to keep fans, staff, and players safe."