Shots fired near field

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 16, 2002

Features Editor

What should have been an afternoon of fun at the ballpark turned scary Tuesday afternoon when shots were fired in the vicinity of Knox Street.

According to information released by Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage, police were notified at 5:38 p.m. that shots had been fired on Knox Street near the lower ballfield in the recreation complex.

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"There was activity on both ballfields at that time," said Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, TPD public information officer. "According to what we were told by witnesses to the event, three subjects were walking on Knox Street and confronted individuals in a vehicle headed toward North Three Notch Street and shots were fired.

"Witnesses to the incident said one of the individuals ran north on Knox Street and the other two ran into the cemetery and out of sight."

Scarbrough said witnesses identified the vehicle as a older model burgundy Chevrolet.

Everage said the Troy Police Department is concerned about any situation where citizens could be put in harm’s way, but the fact that shots were fired around an organized sporting event with children involved was of special concern.

"This concerns us greatly and we will use all the resources available to us to find those individuals who committed this act and bring them to justice," Everage said. "We want to make sure things like this don’t occur. Individuals who are going to conduct themselves in this manner need to be willing to pay the price for that type behavior."

Dan Smith, director of parks and recreation for the city of Troy, said teams were practicing at Knox Field when the shots were fired.

"As scary as the situation was, were were blessed that no one was injured," Smith said. "I have met with Chief Everage and we are looking at placing an officer with a car at that facility at all times when a game or practice is in progress."

Wednesday’s incident was not the first time shots have been fired in the vicinity of Knox Field.

About two years ago, across the street in the backyard of a house, there was some gunfire, Smith said.

"We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of the children and fans at Knox Field as well as all of our facilities," Smith said. "Unfortunately, there are people in our community who have little regard for their safety or that of others. We can’t control when those people are going to use bad judgment."

Knox Field is used as both a practice field and a game site for summer recreation ball.

"Due to the number of teams in all leagues, there aren’t enough fields to accommodate all practices and games," Smith said.

In responding to reports that there were three empty fields at the Troy Sportsplex at the time shots were fired in the vicinity of Knox Field, Smith said he was sure there were some empty fields at that time.

"No games were scheduled Wednesday because of the Troy City Band Concert," he said. "Practices were reserved by the head coaches who chose to practice. Only a few teams practiced and the coaches chose, logically, to practice where they play."

Smith said the city is in desperate need of more ball fields for youngsters ages 5 though 12.

"We have had discussions in recent years about building new ballfields," he said. "We will continue to look at that possibility."