Updated: Friday, 28 May 2010, 12:09 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 17 May 2010, 9:34 AM EDT
FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - An assistant coach for the Fruitport Soccer Club was arrested after a game at Pine Park on Saturday afternoon.
Police said several parents confronted James Sherrill on the field after witnessing the coach yelling and swearing at the boys, ages 8-10, who were playing the game.
After the initial confrontation was broken up, another parent approached Sherrill as he was leaving. That is when police said Sherrill pulled a concealed 9mm handgun from its holster.
When the gun was pointed at her husband, Adam Eikenberry, Chevon Eikenberry was shocked.
"Especially in Fruitport -- I mean, you don't hear of that at a kids' soccer game," she said.
Said Fruitport Public Safety Department Chief Paul Smutz: "He said, 'If you don't back off, I'm gonna shoot you.' "
"It was terrrible," Eikenberry said. "Awful -- I mean, to know that he had it right there on the field with our children? That is horrible."
Sherrill then drove himself to the police department to report what happened, according to officers. He was then arrested for felonious assault and was arraigned May 28.
While Sherrill did have a permit to carry the handgun, firearms are not allowed at sports arenas or stadiums. It will be up to the prosecutor to determine if he violated the law by having it at a park where there are soccer fields and baseball diamonds.
Police confiscated the coach's gun.
Several people witnessed the incident in the packed park, Smutz said, as hundreds of children and their parents were there for games at the various fields.
Sherrill was not a "rostered coach," and the entire staff is made up of volunteers, said a representative from the Fruitport Soccer Club. Sherrill was a parent who came down from the stands for a few minutes when the coach was distracted, club representative Carrie Whipple told 24 Hour News 8.
"He's fantastic with the children and I just want people to know he's a fantastic guy," Whipple said. "It's just an unfortunate situation."
Chevon Eikenberry disagrees.
"I don't know why they're backing this guy," she said. "Where the guy pulled the gun at and where my husband was standing -- if he would have shot the gun and missed my husband, there was a whole park full of kids right there."
24 Hour News 8 caught up with Sherrill at his home. He walked away without comment.