A young male was rushed to Williamsport Regional Medical Center by ambulance with "severe" injuries early Monday evening after being shot at Flanigan Park, city police said.
The youngster was shot at least once, but police declined to say where on the body and didn't provide his age. He was, however, taken to the emergency room in ever-worsening condition as the moments clicked by about 7 p.m.
"I'm told his injuries were severe," city police Chief Gregory A. Foresman said at the scene at Little League Boulevard and Walnut Street.
City police Chief Gregory A. Foresman, left, speaks with officers after his arrival on the scene of a shooting Monday night at Flanigan Park.
An unidentified 19-year-old man, who was in the emergency room, said he saw paramedics and medical staff attempting to resuscitate the victim, whom he believed to be a boy in his early teens or younger.
The park was brimming with activity when the gunshots rang out, according to police.
A basketball game was taking place and a crowd was outside the court. A fight broke out just before the shots were fired, Foresman said.
Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, who went to the scene because he serves as director of public safety, expressed how upset he was about the lack of cooperation police investigators initially received.
"One kid was about ready to divulge a name to us and his dad came running through the crowd and said, 'You don't talk to the police,' " Foresman said.
Several in a crowd of about 100 people chanted, "Yeah! We don't talk to the police."
"I find that absolutely despicable," Foresman said.
Police Lt. Steve Helm came to the edge of the park to ask if anyone had information.
"We had a really unwilling and reluctant crowd unwilling to come forward and give information to police," Foresman said. "I feel for the families whose children are witnessing this; however, if we don't get more involvement from the community, especially within the black community, this kind of crime will run rampant."
Foresman said when police arrived several people in the "unruly" crowd were angry about the speed at which the ambulance arrived at the park.
"I can't control the time of the ambulance," Foresman said. "We give care and control the scene."
Foresman urged anyone willing to contact police to testify and give statements to investigators.
"These statements are essential to our investigation and it is why our investigations have become more lengthy and costly," he said. "I don't see any change until the attitudes do."
Police Agents Trent Peacock and Kevin Stiles were in charge of the investigation at the scene. Further information was not available at press time.
The park is one of two the city has planned for installation of three surveillance cameras to be fixed on poles to record video. Four other cameras are slated to be put into Memorial Park. The cameras may be installed as soon as the fall by the contractor, CSI Inc., of Allentown, according to minutes at the city public safety committee.
The park is owned by the Lycoming County Housing Authority, Campana said.
"This shooting is unsatisfactory," Campana added.