KCMO stops basketball games at community center after shootout

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Kansas City, Mo. -- Twenty-nine shots fired at a local community center on Feb. 5 forces the city of KCMO to shut down adult open basketball play.

The shootout happened in the parking lot of the Westport Roanoke Community Center where signs on the door now read, "Attention, there will be NO adult open basketball until further notice."

Right below that sign is a warning that no weapons are allowed inside the building.  These are signs that are getting a lot of attention after shots were fired Tuesday night after a pickup basketball game gone wrong.

"You want to make sure you treat your combatant or your opponent like you would want to be treated. I mean you play defense and sometimes you play it roughly and sometimes its too rough. And in this case it was a little too rough. And someone took offense obviously and there lies the problem that took place this past Tuesday," said Mark Bowland, KCMO's Parks & Recreation director.

Police say a fight erupted, possibly the result of a hard foul that occurred during a game.  Several of the men poured off the court and into the parking lot where guns were drawn.

"There is surveillance video, but we do not have any for this parking lot where this incident took place," said Bowland.

It is believed two men were either shooting at each other or at others in the group.  Police say one man was hit with a bullet in the thigh, but was not seriously injured.

"We still don't know and probably won't know, who fired the shots," Bowland said.

City officials say the decision was made that very night to suspend the Tuesday night adult pickup games at the center until security measures can be put in place.

"Basketball is a very fun sport. We need not to take it to the extremes that was taken here at the Westport Roanoke Community Center. If you really think that that's part of the game then you really shouldn't play the game," Bowland said.

Some of the safety measures officials are considering include: getting a photocopy of each player's ID as they enter the building, putting in a police substation or hiring off duty police officers.  Officials said the idea of canceling the adult open basketball at the center is also under consideration.

The city says they hope to have a decision made on what steps to take to ensure everyone's safety at the community center early this week.

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