BY Susan Tebben
A teenager was shot during a basketball program that turned chaotic at a South Side church Thursday night.
Martin Luther Lutheran Church, 420 Clearmount Drive, 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 the Rev. Paul Heine, church pastor 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 the injuries were not life-threatening.
The Rev. Mr. 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 Mr. 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 at the Newport area church was started to give the teenagers a way to stay off the streets and have something to do at night, Mr. 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,” he said. “We have had no problems with it up to this point.”
Youngstown police had no additional details on the shooting at press time.