FORT WORTH - Chardenay Brown brings her daughter Ayana to Sandy Lane Park on Fort Worth's eastside as often as she can. But as they drove to the park Saturday night to check out a community event, she quickly realized it wasn't a place they wanted to be.
"We saw they had it blocked off and a lot of police, so we knew something bad had happened," Brown said.
The park had been reserved that day for the 13th annual Eastside Family Day. According to an organizer, the event celebrates children whose parents are incarcerated or who've passed away.
"It started off really good," said Jcamille Creque, an attendee. "Everybody's kids were there. Everyone was having fun."
Only 100 people were expected, but Creque said the crowd continued to grow.
"It was pretty big," she said. "It escalated."
At about 7:30 p.m., as neighbors grew increasingly worried about the hundreds of cars and people, witnesses heard up to 12 gunshots at the park. Police confirm one man was shot in the leg. He survived. Authorities say they haven't been able to identify a suspect.
The Fort Worth police gang unit was involved in the incident, but the organizer said the event wasn't gang-related.
"We want everyone to feel safe in those parks," said council member Gyna Bivens, who represents the area, including Sandy Lane Park. The park was recently given a massive facelift.
Bivens said her office is investigating how and why the shooting happened at a public park.
"I'm very concerned about what happened there, but I think it's important to know the entire story," she said.
The organizer said many people showed up who had nothing to do with his event, including those involved in the shooting. He worries the shooting will jeopardize future events.
"It could’ve hit someone’s kid," Creque said. "There were more kids out here, teenagers and kids, than anything. And who wants to bury their child? No one."
"During the day it’s a nice place to come, but after hours, I wont be bringing my daughter," Brown said.
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