On Friday night, the Anniston High School Bulldogs will take on the White Plains Wildcats in its annual homecoming football game. But, unlike previous years, Anniston residents didn't get to encourage the team the night before.

According to a Facebook post from Anniston High, school officials canceled the 2023 Homecoming Parade and Community Pep Rally scheduled for Thursday evening due to recent shootings. 

Anniston Police Department (APD) chief Nick Bowles told the press that the decision followed a shooting involving a group of teen girls on Tuesday. He said the girls were at the South Highland Community Center along with 30 to 50 other high school students when an altercation broke out between them that escalated into gunfire.

According to reports, police believe there were at least three shooters. Police reportedly recovered 50 to 60 shell casings from the crime scene. One girl received non-life-threatening injuries after being hit in the back by crossfire. 

A school resource officer (SRO) with the APD suspected the violence could have continued at the parade and pep rally and informed school officials, who independently decided to cancel the events. 

Bowles said Friday's game between Anniston High and White Plains will still take place as scheduled. As usual, law enforcement and cameras will provide security for the players and spectators.

1819 News reached out to Anniston City Schools to ask how the school system intends to approach Friday night's game but did not receive a response.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email will.blakely@1819news.com or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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