Softball coach wanted for attacking grandmother

A softball coach in Texas is wanted by police after allegedly attacking a grandmother who started recording a teenager she claims was cursing and disrupting the game, authorities said.

Donna Edwards, 60, said James Schmidt – a coach with the Cy-Fair Texas Sting softball league – lunged toward her and knocked her to the ground during a tournament game late Saturday at Dyess Park in Cypress, where Edwards’ granddaughter had been playing on another field.

Edwards went to the field moments earlier to find out who was cursing loudly and disrupting the game when she said she pulled out her cellphone to record the incident so she could share the footage later with team organizers for the Cy-Fair Intruders. But instead of safely documenting the commotion, Edwards said Schmidt charged her “like a bull,” knocking her to the ground.

“He body slammed me,” she told the Houston Chronicle. “He just charged at me like a football player and he was going for my phone.”

A 24-second video of the encounter posted Monday by Edwards shows an umpire having a heated discussion with parents in the stands, with Schmidt speaking directly to the official. A teen – identified by Edwards as Schmidt’s son – then gives her the middle finger as another woman sitting nearby immediately tells him to sit down.

Schmidt then violently swung open a gate and walked toward Edwards, video shows, apparently grabbing the woman’s phone while saying, “Do not!”

Edwards told the Chronicle she believes Schmidt attacked her because she was filming his son.

“I have bruises all over me,” she told the newspaper. “I have a big old giant hematoma on my leg and my whole neck and back are tingling and my head is throbbing. I need someone to help me with these medical bills because this is bad. I have been to two emergency rooms already.”

Schmidt, who left the field before officers responded to the field Saturday, is now wanted on assault charges, Harris County Constable officials told the Chronicle. It’s unclear if he had been arrested as of Wednesday morning. A message seeking comment from Harris County Constable Precinct 4 was not immediately returned.

In addition to facing criminal charges, Schmidt has also been relieved of his duties as a coach in the softball league after his “unacceptable” actions, KTRK reported.

“Cy-Fair Texas Sting strives to promote honesty, integrity, trustworthiness and accountability in coaches, players and parents,” coach Pat Bergin told the station in a statement. “We require the highest levels of good sportsmanship at all times.”

Edwards said her son pulled Schmidt off of her after the video footage ended.

“He wanted to fight,” she told KHOU. “He didn’t care who he was going to fight. Whether it was a 40-year-old man or a 60-year-old woman, it didn’t matter.”

The incident was the first time Edwards felt threatened in four decades of visiting the field. But Schmidt being barred from coaching there moving forward was a welcome development, she said.

“Hallelujah!” she told KTRK. “That’s all I can say because that guy has absolutely no business being around kids … Hopefully, somebody holds him accountable for his behavior.”

Still, the “unfortunate” incident significantly impacted Edwards’ granddaughter, who has since decided to leave her team in the league after three years, Edwards said on Facebook.

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