Rockford schools, police reassure student safety after shooting near football game

Published: Aug. 27, 2018 at 6:44 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Rockford Public Schools will work with the police department to keep students safe and encourage fans to keep cheering on their favorite teams.

A shooting Friday night near the Auburn High School/Freeport High School football game, forced the evacuation of the stadium.

"Obviously it's a very scary situation. We understand people were very scared and fearful of it,” said Rockford Police Department lieutenant Kurt Whisenand.

"We don't take that emotional response lightly, but the good news is everybody was safe and we're so glad nobody was hurt and that the police is committed to addressing the core issues in the neighborhood,” said Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Ehren Jarrett.

The Rockford Police Department says the gunfire was exchanged between two cars near the school grounds. It plans to work with Rockford Public Schools to make students and families feel safe.

“We may increase patrols depending on what we find out but it's difficult to do that when we know it wasn't directly related to the football game,” said Whisenand.

"I feel completely confident that our security precautions we already have in place are sufficient for the games,” said Jarrett.

Jarrett says extra resources were available at school for students who felt traumatized by the incident. RPS and the police department agree students and those visiting the stadium in the future to cheer on their teams have nothing to fear.

"We understand that people are concerned, but it's not a major issue and the police department is doing everything we can to keep everybody safe and get those violent offenders off the street,” said Whisenand.

"We are not going to let some poor behavior in our neighborhoods get in the way of a great experience for all our families and student athletes,” said Jarrett.

The Freeport School District says it appreciates the support and response of RPS following the incident. The police department asks anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.