Deadly shooting near basketball league launch reinforces need for stronger communities

INDIANAPOLIS — Less than a mile from a fatal shooting at the corner of Wheeler and 25th Street, a young men’s basketball league has kicked off. This is another example of a community’s desire to reduce violence in the city.

Home 1st Foundation Executive Director Al Montgomery’s vision for the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood centers on young men playing basketball with loved ones nearby.

“We want young men to participate in our basketball league, bring their loved ones and children,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery helped coordinate these leagues for several years and knows these games are bigger than basketball.

“We’ve had people who had issues with the justice system who got through their probation and got out and got jobs, who had kids, who were good fathers and went on to education,” Montgomery said. .

The league focuses on young men between the ages of 18 and 35. Unfortunately, youth homicides continue to rise, which is why Al’s strategy uses basketball to promote peace in Indy.

“So if they see each other on the street or at a public event or something and one of their friends might have a problem with one of their friends, they can break that up,” explained Montgomery.

Just before the league kicked off on Friday, a fatal shooting marked the 29th homicide in October. The police echo the sentiment of the community: the killings must stop.

“It is very unfortunate that our children who are in this area or who want to enjoy activities, that they have to walk past, they have to walk past with their parents,” said Samone Burris, public information officer of IMPD.

As heartbreaking as the death is, Montgomery and many others won’t let that deter them from working for a happier, healthier community.

“Not everything you see has to be negative,” Montgomery said.

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