Charleton Heston would be proud of this gun-toting soccer dad…


2 Responses to “Charleton Heston would be proud of this gun-toting soccer dad…”

  1. May 27, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP — A parent who youth soccer coach Carrie Whipple said was trying to defend her against harsh words from another man apparently took it too far Saturday by pointing a gun at the man.

    The parent, James Ian Sherrill, 35, of Sullivan Township, faces criminal charges following the incident that occurred in the parking lot of Pine Park.

    Police said Sherrill, who was assisting the coach in an unofficial capacity for the Fruitport Soccer Club, turned himself in to authorities following the incident.

    Whipple said although she didn’t witness Sherrill point a gun or threaten the parent whom she said bullied her during the game, she doesn’t think Sherrill is necessarily at fault.

    At the time, Whipple said, she was coaching 6- and 7-year-olds.

    “It wasn’t just like he snapped for no reason. I can speak to his character. He’s a fantastic father and friend,” Whipple said.

    “He did go to the police. He obviously didn’t have anything to hide. He felt he was threatened and told police what had happened.”

    Sherrill, who was charged with felonious assault, is scheduled for a May 28 arraignment in Muskegon County 60th District Court.

    Fruitport Township Police Chief Paul Smutz said Sherrill — who was held Saturday in the Muskegon County Jail and is free on bond — brandished a gun at another parent and “threatened to shoot him.”

    According to the police report, Sherrill was at a soccer field at the park watching one of his children play soccer when he “stepped in” to assist the coaches because they were having “issues with the kids.”

    Whipple said Sherrill was her “knight in shining armor.”

    “A parent got very loud and verbal in my face,” Whipple said. “Mr. Sherrill stepped in between the two of us and was protecting me. He told the other parent three times very calmly to get his kid, leave the field and go and we’d talk about it on Tuesday. It got louder and louder and more parents were chiming in.”

    Whipple said the fight among parents finally “fizzled out” and the other parent apologized to her.

    But Smutz said following the game, verbal confrontations started in the parking lot and “that parent got into it with him.”

    “(Sherrill) pulled out a pistol he had concealed (on his person),” Smutz said, then pointed the gun at the father with whom he was arguing and “threatened to shoot him.”

    “The parent backed down and (Sherrill) got in his vehicle with his family and left. He drove to the (Fruitport Township) Police Department and turned himself in,” Smutz said.

    When Sherrill gave a statement, a police officer confiscated the weapon. Several people witnessed the incident and gave statements to authorities, Smutz said.

    The chief said Sherrill has a concealed weapon permit. It wasn’t clear Monday whether it was lawful for him to have the weapon at the outdoor sports area.

    Fruitport Township Supervisor Brian Werschem called the incident “an unfortunate situation between two parents.”

    He said it should not be “a reflection of our facilities or club.”

    “I think it was an isolated, unfortunate situation between two parents that escalated out of control,” Werschem said.

    “In all of our sports, there are parents who verbally get out of control, and that’s the way this started. By the time the verbal stuff started, the game was 14-0. The game was already decided.”

    Meanwhile, Whipple said the soccer board will meet “to go through the bylaws and see what the consequences are for both families involved.”

  2. May 27, 2010 at 7:50 PM


    FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP — A Fruitport Township soccer dad said he initially tried to thank another parent for stepping in to help coach his son’s game Saturday before the man became angry and threatened him with a gun.

    Adam Eikenberry, 31, said he was unfairly targeted by James Ian Sherrill, 35, in the parking lot of Pine Park, 4329 S. Quarterline, following Saturday’s game at which both men had children playing.

    “I don’t want my name smeared,” Eikenberry said. “(Sherrill’s) fuse was already lit before that happened.”

    The Chronicle has been unable to reach Sherrill, of 6250 Cline, Sullivan Township, for comment. Sherrill is scheduled for a May 28 arraignment on a felonious assault charge in Muskegon County’s 60th District Court.

    Eikenberry claims Sherrill pulled a gun from his holster, pointed it at him and threatened to shoot when the two were preparing to leave the park following a verbal confrontation after the game.

    “He reached behind him, pulls his gun out, cocks the gun, puts his finger on the trigger and ranted something,” Eikenberry said. “I was like, ‘What are you doing?'”

    At that point, Sherrill’s wife told him to get in their van and they left the parking lot abruptly, Eikenberry said.

    Fruitport Township Police Chief Paul Smutz said Sherrill then turned himself in at the police department and was lodged at the Muskegon County Jail until Sunday, when he posted bond.

    In a Chronicle interview Tuesday, Eikenberry claimed earlier reports that he had spoken loudly to his son’s soccer coach, Carrie Whipple, prior to the gun incident are false.

    Eikenberry said Sherrill and Whipple are close friends, and Sherrill had a problem with Eikenberry approaching Whipple after the game about the way the 6- and 7-year-old soccer players were being coached.

    Sherrill stepped in to help coach the soccer team when Whipple apparently walked off the field to take a cell phone call, Eikenberry said. That angered several parents who voiced their discontent with Whipple and the other coach from the sidelines.

    “(Sherrill) was first hollering to get the coaches’ attention, too. He said, ‘Fine, I’ll do it'” and walked to the field to coach the team, Eikenberry said.

    Following the game, Eikenberry said he wanted to talk to Whipple about what happened.

    “I walked up to Carrie and said, ‘I want to talk to you about the game’ and said, ‘My concern is that you’re walking off the field and that’s taking away from the kids’ game,'” Eikenberry said. “She said she was stressed and couldn’t handle it.”

    Eikenberry said that, as other parents began to disperse from the soccer field area, he approached Sherrill near the field to “thank him” for stepping in to coach.

    “I went up behind him and said, ‘Thanks a lot for stepping up to coach. It’s about time someone coached these boys,'” Eikenberry said.

    At that point, Sherrill told him “if I didn’t like it, I should volunteer,” Eikenberry said.

    Eikenberry said he didn’t understand why Sherrill thought it was an attack on him. “I even shook the guy’s hand,” he said.

    But then things escalated, Eikenberry said.

    Even before the two were in the parking lot, Eikenberry said Sherrill became increasingly angry, telling him to back off, using profanity around the children in the area.

    When they were in the parking lot, the issue continued with Eikenberry prompting further discussion with Sherrill.

    “I said, ‘Hey big boy, we need to talk,'” Eikenberry said. “I said, ‘I just want to talk to you.’ I didn’t want stuff to carry into the next week.”

    Eikenberry said it appeared Sherrill was going to leave, but then pulled out the pistol.

    “I’m all for guns, but this guy’s poor decision ruins it. It’s horrible,” Eikenberry said.

    On Tuesday, the Fruitport Soccer Club met to discuss the issue and decided the Eikenberry family could no longer participate, Eikenberry said.

    When contacted Tuesday, Whipple declined to comment on what happened at the Tuesday meeting.

    “I’m not at liberty to discuss this any further,” she said.

    Chevon Eikenberry, Adam’s wife, said the couple’s children will be devastated to learn they can’t play soccer any longer.

    “For the club to kick off our kids is beyond wrong,” Chevon Eikenberry said. “Adam handled himself in the right way.”

    The club’s acting president, James Kruger, also declined to comment. It was not clear whether Sherrill’s child could remain on the team.

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