• Youth football coach arrested, punches three kids, police say

    By: Lauren Seabrook , Elyna Niles-Carnes

    Updated:

    VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A youth football coach has been arrested and faces child abuse charges for punching three kids during a fight on the field, New Smyrna Beach Police said.

    Larry Shawn Cruce, 33, of Orange Park, was arrested Saturday.

    Police were called to the New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex at 1800 Turnbull Bay.

    Witnesses told police that after the last play of the game several kids got into an argument that turned into a fight on the field. Team players with the Middleburg Broncos, near Jacksonville, ran onto the field and got involved in the fight, police said. Cruce began to hit and punch several of the kids who belonged to the Cudas football team, police said.

    Cruce grabbed one of the Cudas player’s faces mask off and punched him in the face and then attacked two other students, witnesses said.

    “He came out of nowhere, just lifted up my helmet, hit me in  my neck, then my coach grabbed me away,” said victim Omahri Meeks.

    The kids were not seriously hurt.

    Other coaches broke up the brawl.

    "There are consequences to actions and decisions that we make as adults. I definitely hope that it goes all the way. He needs some type of punishment for this, to teach him a lesson that this is not something you do,” said Meeks mother, Charmaine Winter.

    Cruce refused to comment to Channel 9 reporter Lauren Seabrook.

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