Florida youth football coach punched 3 kids, police say

A Florida youth football coach has been arrested and faces child abuse charges for allegedly 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.

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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 face masks, 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.

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"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 WFTV reporter Lauren Seabrook.

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