A young middle schooler in North Carolina has been praised as a hero after he helped secure the safety of one of his teachers during a horrific shooting after a championship football game.
At around 8 p.m. on November 16, the St. Pauls Bulldogs had just defeated the Lumberton Junior High Vikings 38-24 in a middle school championship football game in Lumberton, North Carolina, when shots rang out in the parking lot.
St. Pauls teacher Don Weller, who is also affiliated with the football team, was recording a video on his cell phone camera at the time, intending to capture the moment when his players collected the championship trophy they had just earned. Instead, Weller’s video captured the sound of at least seven gunshots and the chaos that erupted on the field and in the stands as a result.
As people began to scramble to safety, Weller lost his footing and even dropped his phone
“I think my fight or flight kicked in for me,” Weller later told reporters.
“[A] lot of people have started to run,” Weller continued, “and my brain told me to run too. Then my feet didn’t cooperate, and I ended up falling.”
But his camera kept rolling. Take a look:
Amid that frightful scene, an unlikely hero emerged. One of Weller’s players, 13-year-old Bobby Holloman saw Weller fall. He picked up Weller’s dropped cell phone and “guided” him to safety.
“Mr. Weller, I got your phone! Run, Mr. Weller! Mr. Weller, get down!” Bobby yelled. “Gun!”
Weller described the scene in his own words: “[T]hat’s when Bobby came in and kind of guided me over the fence and made me stay down to the ground, which would’ve been the right think to do, you know, early on.”
In hindsight, Weller believes that he may have “passed out for a second,” which may explain why he appears disoriented in the video and why Holloman has to inform him that someone was firing a gun nearby.
Holloman, who plays defensive back, certainly defended Weller’s back that night.
“He helped me up and got me to the fence and reminded me to stay low to the ground,” Weller admitted. “It kind of made me feel more assured and calmed me down a little bit.”
But despite his heroism, Holloman remains humble, insisting that he was just doing what he thought was “right.”
“I wanted to make sure everybody else was okay before I got down, because that’s right,” Holloman said. “In my book, that’s right.”
“I just thought about getting to safety,” he added later. “Anything can happen in just a minute, and you’re not promised tomorrow.”
Though he and his teacher are both safe now, Holloman remains concerned because the shooting left the mother of one of his teammates fighting for her life. The unnamed 41-year-old woman was struck in the parking lot. She was then placed in a helicopter and transported over 100 miles north to UNC Medical Center. Her injuries were considered “life-threatening.” As of Thursday, she was listed in “critical but stable” condition.
“[I]t didn’t feel like we won a championship after what had happened,” Holloman stated.