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Children, parents duck for cover after Little League game interrupted by gunfire

Harrowing video shows players running for cover or dropping to the ground as dozens of gunshots ring out during a youth baseball game in South Carolina.

Parents and children at a South Carolina youth baseball game remain shaken after a hail of gunfire erupted in the middle of a game near the field on Monday night.

A video shot by parent Blake Ferguson shows a terrifying scene of a player batting at the Pepperhill Ball Field in North Charleston when shots suddenly can be heard in the background. The catcher runs for cover, followed by the batter, and then other players can be seen either dropping down to the field to protect themselves or sprinting to take cover.

Ferguson and his wife, Lori, were at the game watching their son, Sylas, 8, who was on the pitcher's mound when the shots rang out.

"All of a sudden I just hear, 'Boom, boom,' like two fireworks going off," Lori Ferguson told NBC News senior correspondent Kerry Sanders on TODAY Wednesday. "And then literally two seconds later, it was like the Fourth of July out there."

Voices can be heard in the video yelling for the players to hit the ground and crawl off the field.

"I heard my coach say, 'Get down, get down,' and it was really scary," Sylas Ferguson told Sanders.

"We got home last night, and he’s still shaken," Blake Ferguson said about his son. "Our 5-year-old is still crying. We had a sleepover in our bedroom last night because they’re so scared."

Authorities say dozens of shots were fired during a nearby fight that carried over to the park, with some of the bullets hitting the cars of the parents at the game. Witnesses told police that a large group of teenagers pulled into the parking lot in separate vehicles and began fighting, which led to the gunshots before they fled the scene, according to NBC affiliate WCBD.

Police have offered a $10,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest in the incident. North Charleston mayor Keith Summey addressed the issue of ongoing violence in the city at a press conference on Tuesday.

"Our police department is going to start taking guns off the street again," he said. "Here we’ve already had 10 deaths to gunshot wounds already this year."

The frightening incident comes after data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a record 45,222 people died from firearm-related injuries in the U.S. in 2020.

Firearms are now the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in America, according to federal data analyzed by researchers at the University of Michigan. Firearm deaths among children and adolescents ages 1 to 19 increased by 29% from 2019 to 2020, the researchers found.

More than 4,300 kids ages 1 to 19 died as a result of firearms in 2020, which includes suicides, homicides and unintentional deaths, according to the study. Motor vehicle deaths were the second-leading cause of death at about 3,900 fatalities, followed by about 1,700 drug poisoning deaths.