Shaker Heights football team plays without crowd Thursday, police investigating threat

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 4:43 PM EDT
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SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - The Shaker Heights varsity football game Thursday night was played in an empty stadium due to a potential threat made against the game, according to Shaker Heights High School officials.

Neither fans nor marching band members were able to watch the game due to the threat, officials said.

Shaker Heights parent Jennifer Beard tells 19 News her son Cornell Beard also received threats on his phone, “It was a threat someone was going to come and shoot up the game.”

Out of an abundance of caution, the game against Maple Heights went on a little later than scheduled, but parents, classmates, and band members for both teams were not allowed inside.

Scott Stephens is the Executive Director for Communications and Engagement for the Shaker Heights School District, “Our high school staff became aware of a threat Thursday afternoon related to tonight’s football game against Maple Heights. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to hold the game, but do it without having fans in the stands. It’s more manageable for our security forces, for the police department to play the game in that fashion, given the nature of the threat. We’re waiting to hear from our partners with Shaker Heights Police in terms of their investigation and our own investigation at the high school.”

Lance Holland traveled more than one thousand miles from Florida to see his nephew Stephen Henderson, Jr. play for Shaker Heights, only to be turned away because of a potential threat.

“We’ve got to root from outside the gate, but, we ain’t going nowhere. We ain’t going nowhere. I traveled too far,” Holland said.

Shaker Heights won its fifth game in a row this season, defeating Maple Heights.

This is a developing story. Return to 19 News for updates.