Gunfire at SW Phila. basketball court injures 6

SOUTHWEST PHILADELPHIA - August 23, 2011

A $20,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the gunman.

The gunfire erupted at the Kingsessing Rec Center at 51st Street and Kingsessing Avenue just before 9:00 Monday night. About 500 people were there watching a men's basketball game when shots rang out.

There was apparently an intended target for the shooter – he was not hit. However, six other people were wounded.

Even by contemporary standards of violence, this episode seems especially reckless.

At 8:50 p.m. and estimate 500 spectators were crowded around a court to watch a basketball game when a gunman stepped up.

Lieutenant John Walker explains, "A male pulls out a weapon, begins shooting at a male in the center of the court. There was approximately eleven shots fired from the weapon."

This morning, using bleach and water, a worker attacked the blood-stained steps next to the rec center. Six people were hit in the hail of bullets. Five were considered walking wounded – the sixth was listed last night as critical.

A few feet from where the shooting took place, life goes on today. A 12 and under team was practicing for its upcoming championship. Police are about and can be seen.

As for the 12 and under coach's take on last night's senseless shooting spree, Cantrell Fletcher tells Action News, "It makes you mad. Cause what it does is it messes up the community. People here, they come here to enjoy themselves and look at a game, not thinking they're gonna get shot."

Kingsessing Rec Center, along with about twenty other centers throughout the city, has been designated as a safe haven recently, with the weekend curfew the city has now. With that in mind, Mayor Michael Nutter had some choice words today about the shooting.

"Every one of our rec centers and other facilities should be considered a safe place, whether it's a part of the expanded twenty centers on the weekend that have expanded hours or not... That is the most ignorant, asinine behavior and way over the top," said the mayor.

There were two police officers present as spectators at the rec center Monday night. They gave chase after at least one man. However, no arrest was made.

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