Crime & Courts

Police: Seven out-of-town basketball players arrested after assault spree

File photo
File photo Dave Williams/The Wichita Eagle

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect address for where a man told police he was attacked.

Seven young basketball players from Minneapolis, Minn., were arrested late Sunday night after they went on an assault spree on foot in south Wichita, police said Monday.

The boys, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old, were in town for the Mid America Youth Basketball tournament and were staying overnight at an area hotel, Wichita police Lt. James Esponiza said. Police first responded to the 500 block of South Market at around 11 p.m. on Sunday. A 48-year-old man there reported that the group of teens approached him as he stood on his front porch, yelled at him, made threats and threw rocks, bottles, bricks and chunks of concrete.

The man suffered injuries to his abdomen, arms and legs, Espinoza said.

The boys then approached a 29-year-old man, also at the residence, who tried to escape by foot. The group of teenagers tackled the man and beat him, Espinoza said.

In another incident Sunday night, a 32-year-old man was riding a bicycle near Waterman and Main, in downtown Wichita, Espinoza said, when 10 to 12 teens knocked him off his bike and assaulted him with punches, kicks and rocks.

Police are also investigating whether several homeless people were victims of assault throughout the night, Espinoza said. Victims are still coming forward, he said.

A 12-year-old was arrested on suspicion of battery, aggravated assault and resisting arrest. Two 14-year-olds and two 15-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of battery. Another 15-year-old was arrested on suspicion of battery and destruction to property. And an 18-year-old was arrested on suspicion of battery.

There are coaches, “but apparently there wasn’t any supervision being done to watch these young men,” Espinoza said.

Sunday was the last day of the MAYB National Championship tournament, which began in Wichita on Thursday. Layne Frick, a spokesperson for the MAYB, said Monday afternoon that tournament organizers were unaware of Sunday night’s incidents until hearing it in the news Monday morning, so Frick did not have any details about what happened.

“Outside of the tournament itself, it’s hard for us to have any regulation over those boys,” he said.

About 5,000 competitors from across the country were in town for the weekend competing in the annual tournament. First- through 12th-graders compete in dribbling, shooting and dunking competitions in addition to playing in a bracket-style tournament.

“The MAYB National Championship draws the best youth basketball programs in the country with the top basketball players in each class in attendance,” according to a news release from the MAYB.

College recruiters usually attend the tournament to “watch the top young basketball players,” the release said, and such players as Blake Griffin, Wayne Simien and Brandon Rush have competed in the tournament.

Reach Shelby Reynolds at 316-268-6514 or sreynolds@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @_shelbyreynolds.

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