One victim released, other in stable condition after basketball tournament shooting

Published 5:43 pm Thursday, December 30, 2021

SALISBURY — Two victims of a shooting during the Sam Moir Christmas Classic basketball tournament suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, Police Chief Jerry Stokes told reporters Thursday.

The two boys were injured after a fight escalated to a shooting during Wednesday’s semifinal round of the tournament on Catawba College’s campus. The fight happened in the lobby area of the college gymnasium during the half time of a game between North and West Rowan high schools. There were about 400 people in attendance when the shooting occurred.

One victim, who is 14 years old, was struck in the right forearm. He was treated and released from Rowan Medical Center. A 13-year-old boy struck in the right leg was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He is in stable condition in the hospital.

While both boys were in the vicinity of the fight when the shooting occurred, neither was involved in the altercation.

Stokes said the department is working to determine if more than one shooter was involved.

There were five off-duty Rowan County sheriff deputies providing security at the event in addition to college security services. One Salisbury Police Department officer was on campus, but he was there to recruit officer candidates, not to provide security.

Stokes said deputies provided aid to victims after the shooting. He said deputies moved in to break up the fight, but shots were fired at the crowd from behind the sheriff’s deputies. Salisbury officers arrived shortly after shots rang out.

Stokes said the department is being assisted in the investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation and requested anyone with video from the event to provide it to the department as it tries to identify suspects.

The Salisbury Police Department has talked with Rowan-Salisbury Schools about providing security for a safe return to school on Tuesday. But Stokes said there is no indication the incident will find its way into schools.

“We have an excellent working relationship with the school system and are seeking ways to enable even better communication so no future incident occurs through our close partnership with our SROs and school principals,” Stokes said. “This type of event can certainly be a wake-up call for communities on addressing violent crime.”

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

email author More by Carl