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Twenty-nine bullets put KC basketball program on hold

Updated: 2013-02-09T01:29:39Z

By CHRISTINE VENDEL

The Kansas City Star

Kansas City has suspended its adult basketball program at the Westport Roanoke Community Center after a shootout among players in the parking lot Tuesday that injured one man.

City officials said the adult program that welcomed basketball players for pickup games on Tuesday nights was suspended indefinitely while officials review security improvements for the center at 3601 Roanoke Road.

The shooting occurred just before 8 p.m. after a fight broke out in the gym, stemming from a hard foul, said police and city officials. More than a dozen players went outside and the dispute continued in the parking lot. At least two men fired at each other, unloading 29 bullets that struck three vehicles and one man in the thigh. One gunman fled in a white car.

Mark Bowland, manager of Kansas City’s community services, said he is exploring ideas that could improve safety at the center, including hiring off-duty police officers, opening a police substation at the center or inviting members of anti-crime groups to work at the center. They might also add procedures such as requiring the presentation of a driver’s license or identification card before players can participate.

Another option is to cancel the program.

Bowland said he is trying to avoid that.

“We don’t want a couple of bad apples to spoil it for everyone,” he said.

To reach Christine Vendel, call 816-234-4438 or send email to cvendel@kcstar.com.

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