FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - An assistant coach for the Fruitport Soccer Club was arrestedafter a game at Pine Park on Saturday afternoon.
Police said several parents confronted James Sherrill on thefield 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 parentapproached Sherrill as he was leaving. That is when police saidSherrill pulled a concealed 9mm handgun from its holster.
When the gun was pointed at her husband, Adam Eikenberry, ChevonEikenberry was shocked.
"Especially in Fruitport -- I mean, you don't hear of that at akids' soccer game," she said.
Said Fruitport Public Safety Department Chief Paul Smutz: "Hesaid, 'If you don't back off, I'm gonna shoot you.' "
"It was terrrible," Eikenberry said. "Awful -- I mean, to knowthat he had it right there on the field with our children? That ishorrible."
Sherrill then drove himself to the police department to reportwhat happened, according to officers. He was then arrested forfelonious assault and was arraigned May 28.
While Sherrill did have a permit to carry the handgun, firearmsare not allowed at sports arenas or stadiums. It will be up to theprosecutor to determine if he violated the law by having it at apark where there are soccer fields and baseball diamonds.
Police confiscated the coach's gun.
Several people witnessed the incident in the packed park, Smutzsaid, as hundreds of children and their parents were there forgames at the various fields.
Sherrill was not a "rostered coach," and the entire staff ismade up of volunteers, said a representative from the FruitportSoccer Club. Sherrill was a parent who came down from the standsfor a few minutes when the coach was distracted, clubrepresentative Carrie Whipple told 24 Hour News 8.
"He's fantastic with the children and I just want people to knowhe's a fantastic guy," Whipple said. "It's just an unfortunatesituation."
Chevon Eikenberry disagrees.
"I don't know why they're backing this guy," she said. "Wherethe guy pulled the gun at and where my husband was standing -- ifhe would have shot the gun and missed my husband, there was a wholepark full of kids right there."
24 Hour News 8 caught up with Sherrill at his home. He walkedaway without comment.
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