Lay-ups and slam dunks weren't the only shots at an annual Harlem basketball tourney Thursday night. This despite an increased police presence and private security hired at the venue.
"I heard three shots, then two more shots followed," describes Solomon Binyamin, who works at the John Doe Fund next door. "People were running everywhere, girls and kids were hiding under bleachers, people were jumping over the fences trying to get away."
The episode was captured on shaky cell phone video, but two distinct "pops" followed by the outcry of those nearby were clearly heard.
In all, four people were hurt, including a teenager. All are recovering from gun shot wounds. None of the wounds is life threatening -- they were hit in the leg, ankle or arm last night in the midst of the Entertainer's Basketball Classic--a tournament of the best street ball players that runs from June to August.
Witnesses say the shots were fired in protest of a ref's call.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly briefed reporters. "A dispute broke out, and someone was punched. Witnesses say someone in a lime green shirt took out a gun."
Neighbors at the Polo Grounds Houses across the street point out the security team doesn't check everyone coming to the game, like last night's opposing team from Westchester, known as 914.
Sylvia Meyers explained, "The DJ's and the opposite team who's visiting, and their entourage. They don't get checked by security. I know that's how the gun got in."
The Rucker has hosted famous athletes, musicians and more. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Alicia Keys, even Bill Clinton. Now the focus is on the gun violence.
Desiree Harris, a long time Polo Houses resident lamented, "This is the worst summer, with the gun violence. It's sad."
Those here say it's not just the job of police to get rid of the illegal guns--the community must be a partner.
Tracy DeLeon, a mother who knows too many friends whose nephews and sons have been shot was blunt. "Report it, point it out. Don't be afraid."
Ann Nicole Lincoln, who was asked if police alone are the answer and whether the community needs to police themselves said, "They need to start saying when they see someone else with a gun. Turn them in."
The tournament was started 31 years ago to help get young people off the street and give them an opportunity to be discovered as basketball players has been violence free for 20 years. Tonight's game has been cancelled, with the NYPD hoping a few days time will allow things to cool down. The next game is expected to be played on Monday.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times