5 gunmen sought basketball game holdup

WEST PHILADELPHIA - October 26, 2011

The Basic Ball Basketball League was playing a game at the Christy Rec Center on Monday night when the bandits walked in.

"Their faces were covered, they were all waving guns. They told everyone to get down, get down on the ground," said Ron McGee of the Basic Ball League.

The over-30 men's league was in the middle of a game when it happened. Some of the men had their kids with them.

"One of my players' sons was standing right next to me. By the time I turned around to grab him that player, who was on the floor, already darted over to grab his son and got down," said Mustafa Sulaiman of the Basic Ball League.

The masked gunman rifled through the players belongings, stealing wallets, cash and cell phones.

It took minutes, but the victims say it felt like hours.

"To be in a situation like that, it was very terrifying to say the least," said Sulaiman.

The gunmen remain at large.

The Basic Ball Basketball League had just started playing games at the Christy Rec Center last month. They asked the18th District for police presence.

"Officers did come one day, but that was the extent of it," said McGee.

Police say they try to check in on events when they're asked, but they're sometimes overwhelmed with other, more pressing, priorities.

They invited McGee to a meeting today, but he failed to show. They say, nonetheless, they will be stepping up patrols at the basketball games.

The league says they'll continue to play. They've teamed up with an organization that promotes charity games and they're hoping some good will come out of this.

"We would like to press on and we have to figure out something because this is a great, positive thing," said Lamont McKellar.

As for the 5 young gunmen, the league is hoping they turn their lives around and end up on this court, instead of in criminal court.

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