There have been far too many stories of violence surrounding sporting events this year, and the latest happened to two San Francisco 49er fans who were cheering on their team at a local Applebee’s restaurant in Duluth, Georgia. The two 30-year-old men, Corey Adams and Chris Middleton, were celebrating a touchdown by the San Francisco team. According to Adams he and Middleton made just one remark to the alleged shooter, 31-year-old Donald Ray Ayro. Adams commented, “The only thing me and my buddy said was, we were excited that the 49ers scored,” he added, “It was only one touchdown.”
Ayro, a Saints fan, left the building but told the men that he would return. As Adams and Middleton left the restaurant about 90 minutes later, Ayro fired gunshots at them in Applebee’s parking lot.
Adams said, “I took off running and he started shooting at me and shot like four or five times and he grazed the back of my head.” Middleton was rushed to nearby Gwinnett Medical Center after being shot in the chest. He is said to be in critical condition.
According to Fox Sports, police found Ayro through Adams’ description of him and his vehicle. He was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Last March, San Francisco Giants’ fan Bryan Stowe became a victim of violence after he was beaten senseless after a Los Angeles Dodgers game, and in the preseason during a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders there were several shootings in the parking lot and acts of violence inside the stadium itself. Last month a New York Jets fan was beaten by a group of Kansas City Chiefs’ fans.
What can be done to prevent these senseless attacks? I’m not sure what the answer is. Extreme hatred against fans of an opposing team does nothing in the way of supporting your own.