NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The search is on for the person that pulled the trigger at a high school basketball game in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.
The gunfire erupted inside a crowded gym during a tournament scheduled as part of a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
The NYPD is now looking for the shooter whose reckless conduct created fear and chaos.
Officers from across the 40th Precinct swarmed the scene as frightened people calmed their nerves and counted their blessings.
No one was injured by the gunfire.
“Everybody just bum-rushed out. People were trampling over me. My sisters are traumatized right now. This is their first experience like this. It was really terrible. It was really bad,” witness Channell Osorio said.
It happened around 5:30 p.m. inside the Gauchos Gym, home to an acclaimed AAU basketball program for young men and women.
Our Savior Lutheran from the Bronx was playing a team from Putnam, Conn. Police said a dispute in the stands spilled onto the floor.
“This has never happened here before,” gym maintenance supervisor Kirk Smith said, adding when asked what he was thinking when he heard the shots, “I wasn’t really thinking. I just jumped down on the floor like everybody else.”
“I see this guy in all black with a gun and he’s moving in the back in the middle of the court and he’s firing into the crowd of people on the bleachers,” Osorio added.
“So I just hit the deck of the bleachers and laid myself out flat. There were a couple of guys lying over me just kind of waiting for the shooting to stop,” another witness said.
A message from our program director Earl Elliote… pic.twitter.com/HDHC5FI0xq
— New York Gauchos (@nygauchos) January 21, 2020
Outside the gym, one bullet struck and damaged an SUV.
The shooter fled before NYPD arrived.
The Gauchos program was created in 1967, and has helped dozens of players land spots at prestigious schools. Alumni, including St. John’s legend Chris Mullin, have made it to the NBA.
There’s anger that on MLK Jr. Day violence would visit a place dedicated to helping youth.
“Yes, it makes me angry because a lot of kids was in here with their parents,” Smith said.
The Gauchos program director said the dark situation cannot overpower the light the program has brought to young people in the city. He’s urging anyone with information about the shooting to contact the NYPD.