CONWAY, Ark – A peaceful night at a Conway sporting event turns to chaos after a group of individuals opened fire near the Don Owen Sports Complex.
“The peace of not looking over our shoulder at a place where you take your children and your families for entertainment was shattered last night,” Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry said.
Castleberry and other city officials held a press conference Tuesday morning about the situation. He said police were called out to Don Owen Sports Complex Monday night in response to shots fired. A group of individuals were in the upper parking lot when they started shooting at each other.
Police said no one was hurt but many people at the complex said they’re still shaken up.
“It’s just sad living in Conway that I can’t come five minutes from my house to play softball without having to worry about getting shot at,” Kyle Enloe said.
Enloe said he was playing softball with his friends at the time of the incident.
He said that many thought the initial sounds were coming from a car backfiring but quickly realized that wasn’t the case.
“That’s when I knew it was time to get out of there,” Enloe said.
Enloe said panic set in as families ducked for cover.
“There were people running every which way, there were people dropping to the ground,” Enloe said.
Enloe said his sense of safety was shattered in a matter of minutes.
“It’s cliche right now to say ‘Well this is the way of the world,’ unfortunately that is the truth,” Castleberry said.
On Tuesday, the mayor called on the city council to approve additional overtime for Conway police officers so they could actively patrol the complex.
Later Tuesday night, the Conway City Council approved the additional overtime for officers. Conway Police Chief William Tapley said that it would take an estimated $100,000 to $120,000 to cover the overtime.
Those officers would provide security at ballparks like Don Owens for the rest of the year. The police department said it will work with Parks and Recreation to determine what areas to cover.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes moving forward to allow people to come and enjoy our parks without having to be worried or afraid,” Castleberry said.
In the days to come games will continue, but some say it may be difficult to shake the memories of the past.