Mayor Michael Nutter announced yesterday that the city is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture of a man who opened fire at a crowded basketball game Monday night.

 

“This guy walked up and started shooting,” said Bill Evans, 54, a lifelong neighborhood resident who was among the spectators at Kingsessing Recreation Center. “I don’t think he meant to [kill] anybody because he was aiming low, at peoples’ legs.”

 

All are in stable condition but one man, 19, who is critical but stable after being shot in the stomach.

“Kids today are armed to the teeth,” Evans said. “I saw guys all around me pulling out guns of their own to protect themselves, that’s how bad it is.”

 

Five other people were shot in four separate incidents Monday night, bringing the total number of victims to 11.

 

The recreation center is one of 20 whose hours were extended as a part of Nutter’s plan to provide wholesome alternatives for at-risk children.

“This is a good place to have a safe haven: it’s one of the busiest rec centers in the city,” Evans said. “But they just cut the staff here. You cut the staff and lengthen the hours. How does that make sense?”

Evans said that the rec center provides the 12th District with a schedule of games and that an undercover officer who was parked nearby immediately responded to the shots.

Bill Evans' whole account

"The best part is Saturday morning when all the peewees play basketball from nine to 11. People sell hot dogs and water ice. Everyone's happy. I want the whole place to be like Saturday morning all the time."

"Whenever there are games and playoffs, the crowds get bigger. When you get any crowd, people turn into idiots. They change right in front of you."

"I can tell you one thing: you won't see families out here for the next few games. People will be like, 'I don't wanna bring my kids down there!' The crowd dwindles down and moves back up as people think it's safe again. Until another idiot comes and does something stupid."