Police are investigating a robbery that included shots being fired at McAdams Park.
Six men were playing dominoes in a building next to the McAdams Park recreation center, near 16th Street and I-135, when as many as five men entered shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday, Lt. James Espinoza said. One of them was armed with a gun. They demanded money, cellphones and electronics from the domino players, who ranged in age from 46 to 59.
The suspects, who appeared to be in their late teens or early 20s, then left the park on foot. One of them fired several shots outside, Espinoza said, but it’s not yet known whether any of the shots struck the park building. The loss of cash and property amounts to about $2,600.
“They were probably targeting this group of men,” Espinoza said Wednesday.
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The victims gave the police a first name of someone, but Espinoza said he didn’t know whether that person was a suspect or simply someone in the park at the time of the incident.
The crime shouldn’t raise concerns about whether the park is safe, he said.
“You are talking late at night — past 10,” Espinoza said. “My concerns would be more heightened if it was during the day.”
Troy Houtman, the city’s park and recreation director, said the dominoes group was scheduled to wrap up by 8:30 p.m., but talked an employee into letting them stay a bit longer. They were wrapping things up and preparing to close at the time of the robbery.
“It was a surprise to me that they were there that late,” Houtman said.
Information shared by police indicates the crime was not random, Houtman said.
“That could happen wherever that person was at,” he said. “Unfortunately, it happened there at the rec center.”
McAdams is home to League 42, a youth baseball league comprised primarily of inner-city children ranging in age from 5 to 14.
“There are a lot of games going on there in the evenings,” Houtman said, though Tuesday’s games were rained out.
While games are going on, he said, it’s common for the recreation center to be open so other children can do activities.
“When kids are there, we have plenty of parents, we have plenty of staff there,” Houtman said. “I don’t feel like this is something where we have to escalate our security.”