Patrols increased after gang fight near youth games

HOUSTON Police and parents told us it is typically a peaceful park, but last Saturday a fight broke out on the basketball court. Some people are calling it a gang fight, others refute, but apparently it was so bad the league shut down football games on the field. Now, extra measures are in place to shield the kids from violence while they play.

You'll find no shortage of spirit Saturday mornings at Law Park. Hundreds of children as young as five years old suit up to play their hearts out on the football field.

"After halftime, they were not able to finish their game," said parent Shawnta Simmons.

But last Saturday's games were intercepted by a possible gang fight in the park. Simmons and her three children are here every weekend.

"We just saw lot of kids running through the park, and parents wondering what was going on. People saying there was gang fighting in the park. And all of the sudden you saw police outside," Simmons said.

Some eyewitnesses report seeing more than 30 teens involved in the brawl. Concerned for the safety of the children, the league shut down all games.

"We can play a football game any Saturday. If last Saturday got to a point where it threatened one child, it's time to go home," said Lawrence Chamberlain, league president.

The clash on the court stunned parents.

"We're probably gonna just keep a closer eye on our kids in particular and just kinda keep our eyes open," said parent Brian Gamble.

And forced coaches to launch into some hard-core off-the-field lessons.

"We like to tell our kids when you see something like that going on, you go the other way, stay out of it. We don't even want them to be onlookers," said coach Harold Gilliard.

Houston police have vowed to patrol the park more. We saw Parks and Recreation officials making rounds too. Still, Simmons says she will sit on the sidelines every Saturday to make sure violence doesn't interfere with her sons' games.

"If they see the police are out here patrolling, hopefully they won't come back," said Simmons.

Patrol units from both the southeast division and the downtown gang investigation were patrolling the park Saturday.

Copyright © 2023 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.