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League players in US shooting incident

By Steve Mascord
19 November 2010 03:25PM EST

THREE England-based Jamaican rugby league players have been involved in a Florida shooting incident.

Halifax's Paul White, York City's Wayne Rettie and Bramley's Junior Branford were in a car pulled over for speeding in Jacksonville.

When the police officer returned to his car to write a ticket, he was apparently fired upon six times by a sniper.

"All of a sudden we heard two shots," White, who captained Jamaica to a 32-12 win over Canada in the Atlantic Cup on Thursday, told

"We were a bit shocked because some of us had not heard stuff like that before.

"Then the two shots were followed by another four shots. That's when we started to get worried.

"One of the lads jumped out to see if the police officer was alright.

"The police officer has got his gun un-holstered, ready to go and he came back shouting 'fellas, get out of here, get out of here.'"

Accompanying the three British-raised stars was Jamaican domestic player Tyronie Row, who works in a morgue sewing corpses together.

"For someone like us, from England where our police don't even have guns, that were a big shock to the system really," said White.

"At the time, it was an experience. Now, when you come to think about it, we don't where that gunfire came from. We don't know what was going on

"We were lucky we had one of the really strong characters with us. If anything had happened. Tyronie probably would have looked after us anyway.

"We were safer with Tyronie than we were with a police man."

News of the incident has spread throughout players and officials at the Atlantic Cup, a tournament involving the US, Canada and Jamaica which is being staged in Jacksonville because it is a comparative hotbed for the 13-man game.

"I was straight on the phone telling my wife," said White.

"(At first) .. the driver David is a uni student at UNF (University of North Florida). He's like 'be calm boys, it's only caps. It doesn't seem like real fire. It's someone messing about with a cap gun.'

"(But) one of the lads, he's wound down the window and he could smell gun powder. He says 'no, no, that's real gun powder."

It was an afternoon that started innocently enough.

"A few of the boys went out to get something to eat," White recounted.

"We went to Applebee's and we had to go back to meet the boys down at the West Indian restaurant.

"On our way down there, our guide - be honest, we didn't think we were speeding at all - we must have been going a little bit too fast so we got pulled over by the police.

"We've pulled off the main road, down a little alley and the police have come and they've said 'you're going a little bit too fast'. We said 'we didn't realise'. We told them who we are, the Jamaican national team. He said 'alright, no worries'.

"As the police officer's gone back to the car to run his details, check us all through, we were all laughing and joking and stuff."

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