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Man charged with firing gun at St. Paul youth football game after he says parents fought over ‘hard hits’ during the game


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After a man fired a gunshot during a football game among 10-year-olds in St. Paul, children dropped to the ground while parents and coaches tried to cover them from any additional gunfire, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
 
There were no additional shots and no one was injured, but the altercation left children and parents in tears.
 
The Ramsey County attorney’s office charged Lemar Eugene Anderson, 27, of Little Canada, with threats of violence and carrying a pistol without a permit.
 
Officers were called on Thursday at 7 p.m. to the West Minnehaha Recreation Center in Frogtown and found “a chaotic scene,” according to the complaint. St. Paul Frogtown Football was playing North Area Titan Football in a tournament game for 9- and 10-year-olds on Minnehaha Avenue, near Dale Street.
 
Witnesses said parents from opposing teams began physically fighting. The fight spilled onto the football field and a man wearing a Frogtown youth football sweatshirt pulled a handgun from his waistband, backed away and fired a shot. He got into a Chevrolet Tahoe and left.
 
Through investigation and anonymous tips, police identified Anderson as the suspect, the complaint said.
 
Anderson met with police for an interview on Friday and said he wanted to clear his name, according to the complaint. He reported he was at the game with his uncle and cousin. He said parents from both teams were angry because of “hard hits” during the game.
 
A man from the opposing team asked to fight one of the mothers from Anderson’s team, which led Anderson’s uncle to make a comment to the man and a physical fight ensued, the complaint said.
 
Anderson said he intervened because he felt his uncle was at a disadvantage due to a hand impairment. Anderson said he heard the shot, but had no idea who fired the gun.
 
A witness, however, identified Anderson in a photo line-up as the shooter. Later on Friday, police arrested Anderson in the Tahoe.
 
“When presented with the evidence police had gathered in the case, Anderson admitted (he) had fired the gun,” the complaint said.
 
Anderson then reported his uncle exchanged words with a parent on the other team and a fight broke out.
 
“Anderson claimed he saw a parent on the other team put gloves on and thought the parent was going to pull out a gun,” the complaint continued. “Anderson produced a gun from his waistband and fired it once into the air hoping to diffuse the fight. Anderson claimed he was afraid because he was outnumbered in the fight.”
 
 
 
Anderson told police where he hid the handgun and they recovered it. He does not have a permit to carry, the complaint said.
 
The county attorney’s office asked that Anderson’s bail be set at $10,000, and a judge set it at $5,000 on Monday. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
 
 
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Lemar Eugene Anderson
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