Teen shot during youth basketball program tonight




A teenager was shot during a basketball program at a South Side church which turned chaotic tonight.

The Martin Luther Lutheran Church was having a regular basketball program for males age 15 to 20 in the church gymnasium when a fight occurred and a shot rang out.

“Before I knew it a shot broke out and people were looking for cover,” said Pastor Paul Heine, who was on duty at the time, but away from the group of basketball players. “[The injured teen] came over to me and said ‘I think I’ve been shot.’”

Youngstown police said the boy was injured in the left leg above the knee, but that the injuries were non-life-threatening.

Heine said he wasn’t aware of what caused the incident or how many were involved, but no one else reported injuries.

The teen’s name is not being released because he is a minor, but Heine said the boy was conscious when paramedics took him out of the gym.

About 25 basketball players were in the gym at the time.

The program was started to give the teenagers a way to stay off the streets and something to do at night, Heine said. It is supported by parents, and adults are on duty during the program.

“I hope that this doesn’t discourage people from coming to the program,” Heine said. “We have had no problems with it up to this point.”

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