Police in Lancaster are investigating the murder of a 17-year-old Lancaster High School basketball player outside a community center Wednesday night.
Lancaster County Deputy Coroner identified the teen as Allen Jerome Cooper Jr. of Lancaster.
Cooper died from a single gunshot wound, according to the coroner’s office.
Cooper was found dead outside the Hope on The Hill Community center located at the Barr Street School campus on West Meeting Street. Officers responded to reports of a shooting after a basketball game just after 9 p.m., Lancaster Police Chief Scott Grant said.
David Knight, spokesman for Lancaster County schools, confirmed that teen who died is a student at Lancaster High School and that he played on the school’s basketball team.
The basketball event and game, however, was not a school function and was part of a recreational league, Knight said.
Teammates said Cooper was a hard worker and a good friend who made everyone laugh, according to The Herald’s news partner, WSOC-TV.
Lancaster police, Lancaster County deputies, and State Law Enforcement Division agents are working on the case, but no arrests have been made.
One resident whose home backs up to the recreation center with some woods in between said she knew the victim, who she said wasn’t one to get into trouble.
She said it wasn’t too surprising that a shooting could take place nearby, but that it “hit close to home.”
Another 54-year-old neighbor, who lived her whole life in the area, said she heard what she first thought were firecrackers. She then saw police cars swarm the area.
“I just heard the shots,” said the woman, who like other neighbors, declined to give her name. “It was a lot of shots. It sounded like it could be two guns.”
Another woman who identified herself as the victim’s godmother said she hated what happened, and only can rely on her faith for answers.
A man consoling her on a walk through the neighborhood Thursday morning said people in the area largely know each other and grew up together. Most are private, he said.
The worst part about it, the man said, is when violence happens, it usually involves people who have grown up together, eaten together, stayed at each other’s homes.
“It’s always been problems in the neighborhood,” he said. “It’s kids killing each other. It’s friends killing friends, and it's not even worth it.”
When guns are involved, knowing or growing up together doesn’t always matter, he said.
“Guns don’t know no names,” he said. “Guns don’t know no friends.”
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