Looking for answers after out of control football game

In this photo made Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, football fans fight in the stands during a preseason NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders in San Francisco. After two men were shot and wounded following the San Francisco 49ers-Oakland Raiders preseason game, the NFL and the mayors of the two cities jointly called for an end to "intimidation" and acts of violence at sporting events. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
August 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two football fans are still in the hospital tonight after the 49ers-Raiders pre-season game over the weekend. Things just got wild in the stands and in the parking lot on Saturday. There were two shootings, a brutal beating and a bunch of fights.

John Muhawieh took his son to the game but they probably won't be going to any more in the future.

"My son was getting worried and when I got home he says, 'Dad?' I said, 'Yeah?' He goes, 'I don't think I want to go to a football game anymore,'" Muhawieh said.

Mayor Ed Lee and 49ers President Jed York promised more police and security patrols. At a Monday press conference, they said they will be putting a stop to post-game tailgating and have asked the NFL to indefinitely halt all future pre-season games between the two Bay Area rivals. They also asked fans to help prevent further violence.

"If they observe anything that may even make them uncomfortable, that they should feel comfortable in texting that," Lee said.

"Any of our season ticketholders caught on video or whatever acting the way they did on Saturday night, your tickets will be revoked. Period," 49ers Vice President of Stadium Operations Jim Mercurio said.

One fan called it a day of "rolling fistfights." Another said, "Thugs had hijacked the stadium."

YouTube videos showed fans, wearing 49ers and Raiders gear, exchanging punches in the stands. Another showed women fighting outside the stadium.

Two people were shot in different areas of the parking lot.

Jack is the father of the 24-year-old fan who was shot four times in the stomach. (He asked ABC7 not to use his last name.)

He spoke to reporters right after his son went through surgery.

"He can't eat, he can't drink, so he's chewing on ice," Jack said.

Jack said his son had just dropped a friend off in the parking lot. As he and two others in the pickup went to look for parking, they saw a group wearing Raiders gear jump their friend.

"My son's two friends got out to pull the other guys off and say, 'Stop, stop, stop.' My son got out and whoever it was, you know who you are, you shot him four times for stepping two steps away from his truck," Jack said.

Jack said his wounded son managed to drive his truck to a parking lot gate.

"He opened his truck and the guy at the gate looked at him and he looked at the man, whoever he was, and said, "Help me, I'm dying,' and that guy, whoever you are, I owe you. We owe you. Thank you," Jack said.

Jack's son, and another man who was beaten in a bathroom at Candlestick are both listed in "fair" condition. The other shooting victim was treated and released.

Most fan violence is a result of alcohol use, binge drinking in particular. But experts says said there are ways to control that.

At the Department of Justice in Washington D.C., there is an Office of Community Oriented Policing that looks at how to combat stadium violence. Director Bernard Melekian says alcohol and lack of oversight are without question the two biggest culprits in contributing to stadium violence.

"We discovered that it was relatively easy to make it clear that people were not going to be allowed to create a bad time for other people," Melekian said.

Melekian is talking about his years as Pasadena's chief of police overseeing college and Super Bowl games at the Rose Bowl. And he does say the teams have to share the responsibility.

"A lot of it depends on the team and the team's identity and what it is they encourage the fan base to do," he said.

Back in 2008, the NFL's own security advisors warned the teams that the fan base was starting to change in some of the stadiums and that 21-35 year olds were coming to do nothing but just binge drink.

A former San Francisco chief of police says football games are a particular problem.

"And a lot of that has to do with the tailgate parties and that people are already intoxicated when they come into the park," Tony Ribera said.

Monday morning on KGO Radio Ronn Owens heard from the former 49ers president Carmen Policy.

"Sometimes you have problems out in the parking lot, both before and after a game, caused by people who don't even go into the stadium to see the game from a seat in the stadium," Policy said.

At the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, drinking alcohol in the parking lot is forbidden. But not so at Candlestick or the coliseum. Melekian believes it doesn't have to come to that.

"If you make it clear there are certain behaviors that aren't going to be tolerated, if your presence is fairly constant without being oppressive people can have a good time and enjoy the tailgate experience," Melekian said.

Monday the NFL issued a statement saying it will work with its clubs and law enforcement agencies to ensure responsible fan conduct at all NFL games.

San Francisco police will not say how many officers they had at the stadium Saturday night, but that it was more than they usually have for a preseason game.

Oakland police say they have close to 200 police officers and sheriff's deputies at every game and they are going to step up patrols in the parking lots before and after the games.


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