HOUSTON-Quicker that a NorEaster sweeping cross the Texas plains, the fun and festive atmosphere of the annual Family day at Sylvester Turner Park turned chilly when shots rang out scattering crowds and causing chaos in the park.
The shots rang out about 6:30 p.m. sending hundreds scrambling, including grandmothers, mothers, the disabled, teens and children in different directions.
Houston Police officers and Harris County deputies wasted no time springing into action and working to protect the public moving and directing people to safer areas to minimize panic and injuries.
They also closed the event and shut down the park. As of this report, no one has been arrested or taken into custody or charged with the incident. It remains under investigation, a HPD spokesman said at the park.
The chaos separated young children from parents and marred an event that has been safe and without incident for seven years.
“I am very disappointed because this is not what I wanted for this community,” said State Representative Sylvester Turner, who was tearful and devastated by the change of events. The park and the event are named after him. “This is a family event and it hurts to think that someone came here with the intention of starting some foolishness and endangering others.”
The 7th Annual Family Day at Sylvester Turner Park is a yearly event at 2800 West Little York.
It is popular because it always has free games, food, drinks and entertainment. Patrons enjoy There hot dogs, turkey legs, corn on the cob, sausage on a stick, popcorn and snow cones.
Kids are always busy with inflatable games and a rockwall. Also, Major League Baseball bring its baseball-themed games.
“Family Day showcases the wonderful park we have here in Acres Homes,” said Turner said. “More than 15,000 people from the youngsters to seniors to come enjoy the annual event.”
From teens to adults, Turner’s sentiments and his disappointment was shared over and over by parents and youth who look forward to the free event each year coming to Acres Home.
Some were more disappointed and extremely frustrated with the state of Black America and the state of local Black communities. Many want changes and for young Blacks to start looking at themselves and ask why do they continue to play to the tune of all the violent stereotypes White America uses to describe Black folk.
“When are we going to wake up,” said “Bee Bee”, no last name given. “This has got to stop. It makes absolutely no sense to act like animals when we get together. Now the world will think that about us here in the “4-4″.”
Others praised Turner and hopes he decides to keep the event in the community
“This is a great event,” said 17-year old Rodney Hopkins. “Things like this hurt our chances of keeping stuff. It sad that people do stuff just to be seen or make a name for themselves.”
Starr Tanner, 17, heard the shots and said she was saddened that someone would decide to shoot when you have so many kids and older people around.
“This is ignorant and the person that did this lacks respect for the community and our people,” she said shedding tears. “It really sad that a whole lot of Black people can’t come together without a lot of chaos and trouble.”
Nicole Owens, 16, said it is the state of the world today. “It just breaks my heart. Kid should be able to have fun, not have to run fearing for their lives.”
Derrick and Antiqua Thomas brought their 3 kids to the event and bewailed the shooting and said more security may have to be added at the gates to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“People want to come, but they want to know their kids are safe,” Antiqua Thomas said. “It shameful that we have to have it, but they are gonna have to beef things up somehow.”
Turner wants to get to the bottom of the situation and is asking for help to solve the crime.
“Anyone with information about the shooting incident contact police or call my office.” he said.
He said the community can rest assured the situation will be reviewed very carefully.
“We are going to look at this,” he said. “We were 30 minutes away from a perfect day. We will just have to see where things go from here.”