The shooting occurred in the parking lot of a South Jersey middle school following football practice.
At least one masked man shot a youth football coach to death following practice at a South Jersey school Thursday night, then fired on police while fleeing the area.
The shooting occurred around 8:15 p.m. in the parking lot at Lakside Middle School in Millville, according to the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office.
"It has been reported that masked individual(s) involved in the homicide fled the scene in what has been described as a maroon-colored sedan," the office reported in a Friday morning update on the case.
As they fled, the suspect, or suspects, fired several times at an officer several miles away in the area of Garden Road on Route 55 northbound in Vineland, authorities said.
No officers returned fire and no injuries were reported.
The suspects remain at large.
The school is located less than two miles from a Route 55 interchange.
While officials have not released the victim's identity, a relative and officials with Millville Midget Football League have identified him as Joseph Jones.
He was apparently shot while in or near his car.
The shooting occurred as the football league practice was wrapping up at the school, according to a parent.
Jenna Ackley was walking to her car with her 9-year-old son when she heard about a dozen rapid-fire shots.
"My son went running for the car," Ackley said.
"He's crying in the backseat saying, 'I don't want to die.' It was surreal." Everyone began running for cover as the shots rang out, Ackley said, including kids, a pregnant mom and parents pushing strollers.
Yvonne Mitchell, the parent of another Millville Midget Football League player, recalled Jones as a great mentor to her son.
In fact, it was while he was coaching her child that they learned they were cousins.
Jones took the time to teach her son about the game and to instill positive messages about being an upstanding young man, she said.
"He was a great coach, mentor and friend." Ackley is alarmed by the level of violence in Millville.
"You're not safe in this town anymore," she said.
"It's just like living in a war zone." Her son is reluctant to return for the next football practice. "He doesn't want to go back and I don't blame him," Ackley said.
Mitchell and her son were not at practice Thursday night, but she shared those same concerns.
"I want to know, is it safe to take our kids out there?" she asked Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Lt.
George Chopek at the prosecutor's office at 609-381-2046.
Tips can also be shared anonymously by texting CCPOTIP to 847411.
Matt Gray may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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